Leila Assas, a cultural journalist and social entrepreneur based in Algiers, has embarked on a remarkable journey to create Ziara Culture, a cultural engineering agency aimed at promoting the tangible and intangible heritage of oases in Africa.


Leila Assas

“This story started in 2014 when I was teaching in the Oasian region of Timimoun [in south-central Algeria],” Leila recalls. “There, I developed a strong connection with the locals, especially women in the villages.”

She remembers being impressed by their skills and talent, as well as their eco-responsible practices. But Leila laments that “they face challenges in selling and exporting their products because they just do not have the skills for it.”

Through Ziara Culture, she aims to give these artisans the recognition and opportunities they deserve.

In 2019, she decided to leave teaching and joined the incubator of the Algerian Centre for Social Entrepreneurship (ACSE). “This is where the idea of Ziara Culture was really born,” she remembers, stressing that she envisions Ziara Culture not just as a media platform but more as “a digital oasis cultures portal” where artists and craftsmen from the oases of Algeria and other African countries like Mali, Niger, Mauritania, and Sudan can be showcased.

“Ziara Culture is about creating a sustainable ecosystem that considers the local realities of oasis regions. I want to empower individuals by pooling their skills and providing them with training and coaching on things such as copyrights and marketing.”

With passion, Leila states: “I’m convinced that the tangible and intangible heritage in Algeria and Africa is a powerful lever for business development and innovation. It aligns with sustainable development goals, and I want to work on both the local and international markets to make a difference.”


Find Ziara (very soon) on:

“Your unique talents and crafts have the power to make a change. Learn how to show them to the world and learn from every experience.”

TANDEM Media Awards

EU Neighbours South is launching the 2nd edition of the TANDEM Media Awards, a regional media contest, funded by the European Union (EU). The competition is based on the concept of collaborations between pairs. The theme of TANDEM Media Awards is culture, an area in which the EU is active through different types of support and contributions.