Do's and Don'ts
- Show an Egyptian respect by dressing modestly and remaining sensitive and polite. However, it is okay to be informal and relaxed – doing so will likely make your Egyptian counterpart feel well received and comfortable in your presence.
- Praise their strengths and virtues when possible. Egyptians tend to give compliments generously.
- Acknowledge the history of Egypt and the country’s cultural heritage. Showing an understanding of Egyptian history and contemporary culture will likely impress them.
- Respect an Egyptian’s intelligence if they show evidence of a higher education. It is likely that an Egyptian in Australia is very educated and technically trained, with many holding one or multiple university degrees.
- Try not to say anything that could be taken as insulting or derogatory. Rather, take an approach towards corrective remarks to minimise the possibility of tarnishing one’s honour.
- Avoid telling crass or dirty jokes as this type of humour is generally not appreciated in Egypt.
- Avoid openly criticising Egyptian politics as criticism from a foreigner may be interpreted as an insult or suspicious. While discussion of Egyptian politics is often welcomed and Egyptians tend to have a high level of political awareness, the conversation should be approached in the form of an open dialogue. Avoid carelessly expressing opinions and criticism, particularly towards religion.
- Your Egyptian counterpart may have strong or sensitive feelings regarding certain subjects, such as Israeli-Palestinian relations and opinions of Islam in general. These topics should be treated diplomatically should they arise in conversation.
- Do not assume that your Egyptian counterpart identifies himself or herself as Arab. ‘Egyptian’ and ‘Arab’ are not synonymous but rather are distinctive cultures and .
- Avoid stereotyping contemporary Egyptian culture against ancient Egypt. While Egyptians take pride in their cultural heritage, Egyptian culture is dynamic and has significantly changed throughout history.
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