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04-06-20 Profiles

Art & Culture

Coline Houssais : Arab Paris

Coline Houssais, lecturer

Child of the 90s, pure product of an openminded generation having grown up in a liberal France full of multicultural asperities, Coline Houssais has made her passion for the Arab culture her profession. Which she practises like a real Swiss Army knife. In Paris, where she lives, she guides us around the many places that are borrowed from this culture that she cherishes and shares with us her vision of the links uniting France and the Arab world.

“Rive droite” as well as “Rive gauche”, in Paris we find “a real effervescence linked to Arab culture and thought”. In the northern districts of the capital as in Barbès, as in the most bourgeois 5th and 6th arrondissements, in the heart of the very touristic Latin Quarter, where the Great Mosque is located. Paris, capital of Arab culture.

It’s because Paris is full of arabophiles places, that Coline Houssais to create Ustaza in Paris. Originally, a simple cultural agenda became a flourishing artistic agency. In turn translator for the cinema or journalist for the press, when she is not at the origin of the projects, Coline is a consultant and curator for museums and exhibitions.

Developing another vision of the Arab world

The insatiable millennials also gives courses at Science-Po, where she studied. It was on the Middle East Mediterranean campus of Sciences-Po in Menton, that she learned Arabic. Today, Coline is eager to give back what she received at this institution. But also to highlight the subjects that she is passionate about, at the heart of institutions such as the one on rue Saint-Guillaume. Whether in her course on the political and cultural history of Arab immigration in Europe, her course on music and politics in the Arab world, or the one given on the history of museums, her ambition is the same: to develop a vision of the Arab world for a wide audience.

She then spends a year in Syria, at the French Institute before having the chance to visit most of the countries of the Arabian Peninsula.

A history with many heirs

Far from the Manichean clichés conveyed, Coline refuses to qualify the history between France and the Arab countries. “It is neither positive nor negative”. She finds these links complex, but brilliant in their longevity. If there have been ups and downs, periods of cooperation as well as war, she especially remembers the numerous economic, cultural and political collaborations over the centuries.

That’s why today, in both France and the Arab countries, our cultures are imbued with each other. A history whose heirs are numerous in France, the Middle East and North Africa.

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