African and European Museums Join Forces: A Historic Pledge for Inclusion and Cooperation

The Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar played host to a gathering of museum directors from 38 countries in Africa and Europe from April 25 to 27, 2023. The event was marked by a sense of shared purpose and a desire to build a better future based on dialogue and mutual understanding between cultures.

The directors recognized the important role that museums play in promoting peace and mutual understanding, and pledged to work together to strengthen partnerships and meet contemporary challenges. They stressed that museums should not be places of nostalgia, but should serve as dynamic sources of inspiration for building the heritage of tomorrow.

The directors also recognized that the heritage of Africa has long been confined to an ethnographic vision, and pledged to work together to document, preserve, and reinterpret collections in Africa and Europe, and make them available to the public through digitization, research, education, and exhibitions.

The directors emphasized the need to rely more on endogenous knowledge and expertise in rethinking museum practices, in order to better adapt to climate issues and work on spaces that respect the environment. They also stressed the importance of developing joint traveling exhibitions with multiple partners, in order to transform the narratives that build our vision of the world and promote renewed committed partnerships.

The gathering was attended by some 60 museum directors from 38 African countries and 10 European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The event was supported by several organizations, including the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in the Netherlands, the Stiftung Preußischer Kuturbesitz in Germany, the Stiftung Humboldt Forum in Germany, the Goethe-Institut in Germany, the Institut français du Sénégal in France, and the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar, Senegal.

The directors left the gathering energized and committed to carrying the torch of building a better future through dialogue and mutual understanding between cultures.

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