"Egypt Today," a mixture of cultural activities and exhibits, opens here March 16 with a keynote address by Jihan El-Sadat, wife of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, at the National Academy of Sciences auditorium, it was announced at at press conference at the Egyptian Embassy yesterday.

Activities include art exhibits at the Renwick, the Museum of African Art, the Hirshhorn, the Freer Gallery of Art, the Capital Children's Museum and the Phillips Collection, among other museums. There will also be lectures, Egyptian poetry reading, workshops, films and a dialogue between Egyptian and American students at Georgetown.

Some of these events start later than March 16 and continue through late May. Other "Eypt Today" shows -- with mostly the same activities -- will open in Houston on March 18 and Los Angeles on March 20. Jihan El-Sadat will speak at each of those openings as well.

"Egypt Today" is the fifth show of this type, following "Canada Today," "Japan Today," "Mexico Today" and "Belgium Today." Sponsors include the National Endowment for the Arts (which contributed $50,000), the National Endowment for the Humanities ($115,000), the International Communication Agency (just under $100,000 of grants in kind), a variety of corporations (with Amoco International Oil Co. contributing the top amount ofd $100,000), and the Egyptian govenment.

"We have taken care of a lot of expenses," said Egyptian Ambassador Ashraf Ghorbal, "bringing artifacts here, bringing people here. I'm not going to reduce it to figures. We are grateful to the U.S. and we are happy to contribute as much as possible."

At one point someone mentioned that "Egypt Today" tote bags and T-shirts would be available. Ambassador Ghorbal quickly said, "I can assure you this is not aim for publicity, but for closeness and exchange of culture."

"We're trying to provide textual depth," said NEH Chairman Joseph Duffey, who attended the press conference, as did NEA Chairman Livingston Biddle and Smithsonian official Janet Solinger. "We're trying to provide pictures of the culture of Egypt. [In terms of education] it's not enough to just have atlases."