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Events

From: 09 / 01 /2019 To: 11 / 01 /2019

Youth in the Driver's Seat: Changing the Face of Heritage and Conservation in Africa

On 9 – 11 January 2019, a planning meeting for the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property” ICCROM’s new Africa programme will be held at the Egyptian Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.  Fifteen professionals from 15 institutions are meeting to discuss how best to design an impactful programme to support youth and its engagement in heritage in the African region.

“Youth are the future managers and conservators of our heritage,” commented Dr Webber Ndoro, ICCROM’s Director-General, on the occasion. “For me it’s essential to engage youth at the planning stage of the proposed programme.”

Dr Gihane Zaki, Director of the Egyptian Academy in Rome, commented for her part:  “The Egyptian Academy is very pleased to host this meeting.  I look forward to a regional ICCROM programme that embraces the whole African continent.”

In Africa as elsewhere in the world, new challenges are emerging, driven by rapid urbanization, climate change and demographic shifts.  Africa has an extremely young age distribution, with 59% of its population under 25 years of age (source https://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/PublicationFiles/demographic_profile_rev_april_25.pdf). Young people in Africa learn through formal school-based education and/or informal street education, which has largely supplanted the traditional learning systems of their own cultures. They have also grown up with the tools of the digital age literally at their fingertips. Most make their living in the informal sector, and rarely see the conservation of cultural heritage as an opportunity for meaningful engagement.

How can a new strategy engage young people, and how will they benefit? Are heritage institutions such as museums ready and willing to involve them in their work? How can heritage professionals and decision-makers create the conditions for young people to take ownership of their cultural heritage, and by appreciating heritage to participate and contribute meaningfully to society?

The Africa Expert Meeting takes inspiration from the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and from the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want” which is committed to realizing Africa’s full potential in development, culture and peace.  The Expert Meeting will discuss and debate how ICCROM’s new programme can visibly contribute to economic development, employment and social cohesion on the continent.

The new programme will pioneer new approaches and strategies, even as it is grounded in ICCROM’s past international experience in training and capacity building for cultural heritage conservation. In particular, the programme will strengthen collaboration between institutions and civil society, engage dialogue and debate on the identification and significance of cultural heritage in the light of the growing decolonization discourse, and review the role of museums in today’s Africa rapidly urbanizing context. The programme will also promote intergenerational exchange by considering the ingenuity and innovation that young persons can bring, while learning from the experience and wisdom of older generations.

In keeping with African Union recommendations, the proposed programme will cover the geographical area of the entire African continent, aiming at establishing a wide and vibrant network of people and institutions.

The African Union, the Africa World Heritage Fund and UNESCO World Heritage Centre are involved in this meeting, along with the following institutions from within and outside the region:  


Art Jamel Foundation, Saudi Arabia
Better Life Initiative (BLI), Cameroon
Centre national du patrimoine rupestre, Morocco
Ecole du Patrimoine Africain, Benin
Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation, Egypt
Eswatini National Archives, Swaziland
Google Arts & Culture
International Scientific Committee for Earthen Architectural Heritage (ICOMOS-ISCEAH)
Iziko Museum, South Africa
Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Tanzania
National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums, Sudan
University of Cape Town, South Africa

Member States represented: Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Canada, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Morocco, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, and Tanzania.

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The Africa Expert Meeting is being held at the Egyptian Academy in Rome, by gracious invitation of its Director, Dr Gihane Zaki, also an ICCROM Council Member.  The Egyptian Academy is the only fine arts academy in Rome that represents both Africa and the Arab States, and thus is a committed stakeholder in a successful Africa strategy at ICCROM.

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The Egyption Heritage Rescue Foundation

The Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation (EHRF) was founded in 2013, with the objective of promoting and safeguarding Egyptian and regional cultural heritage. Its first mission was to deliver and design, for government staff and concerned organizations, courses on Disaster Risk Preparedness and First Aid to Cultural Heritage (FACH) on cooperation with ICCROM.