Little is known to the public, Rima Abdul Malak is to date Emmanuel Macron’s cultural and communication advisor. With an experience in the humanitarian field, he has advanced most of his career in the field of cultural policy.
Even if his face is unfamiliar to most of the public, it is a well -known name in the world of Culture designated for rue de Valois. At the age of 43, Rima Abdul Malak replaced Roselyne Bachelot as Minister of Culture, the fourth to President Emmanuel Macron. He has devised much of his career in the field of cultural policy and has largely worked in the shadows of the entire Covid crisis as a cultural adviser to the Presidency of the Republic.
Humanitarian and arts
Of Franco-Lebanese origin, Rima Abdul Malak came to France at the age of ten. He grew up in Lyon, where he discovered theater. A graduate of Sciences Po in 1999, he first launched humanitarian work, but combined it with the arts, especially by managing the association Clown sans frontières, which works with populations victims of war, natural disasters, poverty, from 2001 to 2006.
He will then continue the relationship with the association, sitting on its board of directors until 2014. Throughout this period, he has developed many relationships with artists who have participated in the association’s operations.
‘Madame culture’ at the town hall in Paris
After a short time at the French Institute, which oversees the distribution of French music abroad, Rima Abdul Malak entered politics in 2008 at Paris City Hall. He was first a live performance advisor for two years, then became cabinet director to a deputy already for culture, Christophe Girard. In 2012, when he was noticed left to seize power, he remained in the Paris municipality as a cultural advisor directly within Bertrand Delanoë’s cabinet. He was particularly at the forefront of the development of Centquatre, a cultural space for the arts, especially the living arts, in Paris.
For the AFP, one of his former colleagues, Gaspard Gantzer, spoke of him as a “cultural, intelligent woman with great sensitivity to art“with”an unconditional love for artists, authors and performers.“Between 2014 and 2018, Rima Abdul Malak replaced the promotion of French culture and art abroad by becoming a cultural attaché at the French Embassy in New York.
Woman in the shadow in times of crisis
When in 2019 he was called by the Elysée to be Emmanuel Macron’s cultural and communication advisor, voices applauded this choice. The former Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, explained in particular to Le Monde: “Rima is a unique personality with a close and detailed knowledge of cultural life. His presence is a sign, and a test. “
The life-size test is fast approaching, with the Notre-Dame de Paris rebuilding site allowing him to bridge the gap between town hall that he knows so well and the executive. But the big file comes in March 2020, with the Covid-19 epidemic ravaging the cultural world. He remained in the maneuver with Franck Riester then Roselyne Bachelot throughout the difficult sequence of the health crisis. Rima Abdul Malak has established herself, in the shadows, as a mediator between artists and cultural professionals at the end of their tether and a government that should limit damage to the sector while protecting the population.
During the reshuffle in June 2020, she was approached to replace Franck Riester rue de Valois, but the former chiraquienne, Roselyne Bachelot, was chosen in the end. In recent years, in addition to measures to support Covid, he has particularly worked on implementing the Culture Pass. As minister, he will have to oversee the abolition of the audiovisual license fee announced by Emmanuel Macron.