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African and European museum directors pledge to cooperate at Dakar conference

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Museum directors from 38 countries in Africa and Europe agreed to ‘build a common future’ and strengthen cooperation, including joint traveling exhibitions, in a statement adopted during a conference at the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar, Senegal, last week.

Sixty museum directors from 28 African countries including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria and Uganda, and ten European countries including Belgium, France, Germany and the United Kingdom are committed to “mobilizing our efforts to document, preserve and reinterpret with communities, collections in Africa and Europe and make them available to the public through digitization, research, education and exhibitions.

The three-day conference was envisioned as the foundation of a network spanning both continents and was planned for September last year when the final sections of the Humboldt-Forum in Berlin. Areas of future cooperation include restitution, digitization of collections, research, education and exhibitions, according to a statement issued by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin, one of the initiators of the conference.

“A network was born in Dakar; a forum for museums and partners to forge a common future,” says Hamady Bocoum, director of the Museum of Black Civilizations. It was, he said, “a big step forward, with a long and exciting road ahead of us in fostering mutual understanding”.

Other conference funders were the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Forum Humboldt Foundation, the Goethe Institute and the French Institute of Senegal.

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