IMA funding under threat

There is a looming financial crisis at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, according to this Le Monde report. Arab states are supposed to be funding 40% of its budget, which keeps running a deficit, but they often push for something in exchange (exhibitions for Qadhafi's son or insignificant Kuwaiti artists) and have been running late with payments. Just like the help they always promise the Palestinians.

Still, funding something like the IMA would probably get more diplomatic bang for the buck for France than its recently launched 24-hour news station. At less than 25 million euros a year for about one million visitors annually, a great library and bookshop, and some of the best exhibitions in Paris (not to mention a Jean Nouvel building that became an instant Paris landmark with its photo-reactive diaphragm windows), it's a steal.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.