Cultural sponsorship is relatively new; “social responsibility” is a fresh and fragile concept (♥). Most of the support for culture from the Syrian private sector is limited to advertising and promotion without direct funding, owing to the discounts on cultural advertising given by the Arab Advertising Organization. The Al-Marhabah Festival in Latakia city was sponsored in this way. SYRIATEL partly sponsored the Jableh Cultural Festival organized by the Adiyat Jableh Society. Thus the financial contribution of the private commercial sector to the cultural
field is still restricted to incidental initiatives, depending on the standing of the project owner and his or her personal relations, and whether the project or cultural event is sponsored by official figures with a high-profile. The most important sponsors so far are the international oil companies working in Syria — Shell Oil Company (1 million dollars a year, for health care, education and culture), Total SA and Petro Canada — or food companies like Nestle Middle East, which supports the restoration of ancient monuments in Syria such as the Citadel of Damascus.
[♥] From: Syria by Reem Al Khatib and Rana Yazaji published in ‘Cultural Policies in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia. An introduction’, Cultural Resource/European Cultural Foundation, Bookmanstudies, 2010, 180-181.