In my opinion, foreign cultural institutions can offer more diversity and more alternatives; they can broaden the scope of cultural projects and support existing institutions. They can give a good push to research and artistic practice. Pro Helvetia Cairo has already done some excellent initiatives there, and this can create input into the local scene that is over and above what is provided locally.
The “Pretended Exchange” that is basically quick, short, single event which offers no scope or possibility to develop any real exchange. This is why the three-month residency is very important, it allows time for real engagement. The exchange should be constructed in a way that makes a follow-up possible, there should be sustainability. From the Swiss side, isolated events or short stays would not be as enriching an experience, and locally it would not shift much. So it is important to think long term and build a continuing relationship.
The best thing about the residency program of Pro Helvetia is that it goes both ways. The two directions are important, as Egypt is rich in terms of history and culture so it has a lot to offer Swiss artists.
Uriel Orlow, Visual artist (Studio Residency in Egypt 2010)