One of ICOM’s international missions is to promote and support good museum practices throughout the world by transmitting to emerging heritage professionals the expertise they need to ensure good governance and strong management in their museum work.
From 17 to 22 November, 2014, ICOM’s Senior Programme Officer, Raphaël Roig, led a training for 15 emerging Ethiopian museum and heritage professionals on ‘Enhancement of the Cultural Heritage of the City of Gondar and Other Major Sites of Ethiopia’. This 6-day training was held at the Alliance Française in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia and was co-organised by the City of Gondar and the City of Vincennes, France in the framework of the creation of the Museum of Gondar in Northern Ethiopia. Partners in the training included the French Embassy in Ethiopia, the Alliance Française in Addis-Ababa, the French Centre of Ethiopian Studies and the National School of Administration of France (ENA).
In addition to practical exercises, the training sessions included discussion of various themes that addressed common concerns shared in this region, such as ‘museums and the promotion of cultural heritage’, ’definition and history of museums’, ‘museum ethics’ and ‘museum security and inventory’. A workshop highlighting case studies related to ethics raised particular interest among the participants, referring them to the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums for guidance on issues such as collection and exhibition materials (human remains or religious materials), the position of museums towards the private sector and relations with the local communities.
Raphaël Roig also presented the role and actions of ICOM in the fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods, which is a growing threat in this region of East Africa.
The outcome of the training was very encouraging, with participants expressing their appreciation for the quality and methodology of the sessions and recommending additional topics to be added to the programme, such as the education of museum professionals and museum education.
ICOM was honored to welcome its first Ethiopian ICOM members thanks to this training, and the possibility of founding an ICOM National Committee was also discussed. ICOM is well known in Ethiopia, as International Museum Day has been celebrated there for more than 10 years.