The beginnings of modern Arabic literature in Egypt can be traced back to the era of Muhammad 'Ali, who took several measures to establish the foundations of the modern state. Muhammad 'Ali sent his famed educational missions to France and Italy to equip Egyptian students with Western sciences, and he founded a modern educational system based on the Western model that operated parallel to the traditional educational system headed by al-Azhar. The development and spread of the press played an important role in disseminating and fostering creative writing. Egypt became the center of enlightenment and culture in the Arab world, attracting intellectuals from various Arab countries who were fleeing the tyranny of rulers and searching for freedom. Women writers have trodden many paths in their aspirations to participate in shaping their own identities.
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