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ICOM General Conference 2016, Milan New ICOM President and Executive Board

New Advisory Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson
New Strategic Plan 2016-2022
New Resolutions
ICOM Kyoto 2019: Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition

ICOM General Conference 2016, Milan New ICOM President and Executive Board

Suay Aksoy, New ICOM President

The 24th ICOM General Conference gathered 3,500 museum and heritage professionals from 130 countries to discuss the theme Museums and cultural landscapes and other topical matters at its triennial conference in Milan in July. Six days of working sessions and discussions amongst ICOM’s National and International Committees, Regional Alliances and Affiliated Organisations led to important decisions on the organisation’s future and the election of a new President and Executive Board for the 2016-2019 term.

Elections for the term 2016-2019

Suay Aksoy (Turkey) was elected ICOM President for the term 2016-2019.

Ms. Aksoy is a trustee of the History Foundation of Turkey where she previously headed up museum projects and was a long-term board member. As Director of Cultural Heritage and Museums at the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency she developed and executed capital programmes and projects for museums in Turkey. She has also been a Lecturer in Museum Studies at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and Bogazici University. Ms. Aksoy was Chair of the ICOM Advisory Committee from 2013-2016, a former Chair of the ICOM International Committee for the Collections and Activities of Museums of Cities (CAMOC) and a member of various ICOM Standing Committees.

Speaking of ICOM’s mission, she said: “This is a time to hold on to our principles: to accentuate international collaboration, to adhere firmly to our ethics codes and to work for more democracy and equality in our societies. ICOM has long defined itself with these principles and has justifiably become a reference to reckon with.” 

 On the challenges that lie ahead, she added: “It is through art and culture that we respond to the challenges of change, that we enhance our global outlook on the planet and provide local solutions without compromising this outlook. This is the task history charges us with. Under the circumstance of change being a constant, it is of utmost importance that we contemplate the future of ICOM and museums on a continual basis. This concerns our sustainability and relevance in society as it does the development and implementation of our vision, programmes and projects. It is a challenge and an opportunity that urges us to mobilise our thinking and efforts in open debate and transparency.”


The conference also saw the election of a new Executive Board as follows: 

Vice-Presidents: Laishun An (China) and Alberto Garlandini (Italy).

Newly elected Ordinary Members: Carina Jaatinen (Finland), Diana Pardue (USA), Inkyung Chang (Republic of Korea), Léontine Meijer-Van Mensch (Germany), Maria de Lourdes Monges Santos (Mexico), Terry Simioti Nyambe (Zambia), Hilda Abreu de Utermohlen (Dominican Republic), Emma Nardi (Italy), Carlos Roberto Ferreira Brandão (Brazil), Vinod Daniel (Australia), Carol Scott (UK).

In addition, Regine Schulz (Germany) was elected Chair of the Advisory Council, while Gustavo Adolfo Ortiz (Colombia) was elected Vice-Chair.

Strategic Plan 2016-2022

Following several years in the making, ICOM’s new Strategic Plan 2016-2022, was adopted by the ICOM General Assembly. The new Plan is based on three main principles: INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY and PROFESSIONALISM. The new Strategic Plan reiterates ICOM’s mission and vision and details a series of actions the organisation will take to strengthen its solidarity with colleagues throughout the world, to enhance democracy, to defend the common heritage from wanton and criminal destruction, to improve its structures and operations, and to advocate for museums everywhere.

  • Independence

ICOM advocates for the heritage of humanity and in particular for museums and museum work with knowledge, boldness and conviction. Its members, staff and affiliates work solely for the benefit of that heritage, cultural and natural, tangible and intangible, and this quality of independence is an important protective attribute for members and staff working in troubled environments, especially those assisting with ICOM’s work on documenting illicit trade in natural and cultural goods. It is also an essential quality in the mediation process offered by ICOM in cases of contested heritage and it is in itself an important ethical stance.

  • Integrity

ICOM conducts its business in accordance with its Code of Ethics -- its most influential and lasting contribution to museum professionalism. It requires that museums and museum professionals adopt it in their practice if they are or wish to become members of ICOM. The Code is kept under constant review.

·         Professionalism

Through the work of its National and International Committees, its Code of Ethics, through professional development, publications, annual conferences, and through alliances with similar organisations, ICOM supports museum professionalism in all its aspects and recognises the growing practical scope of that professionalism.

The objectives of the new ICOM Strategic Plan are intended to meet the needs of the members, to enhance the work and value of museums, to strengthen ICOM’s role as an international key player in the museum world, to raise ICOM’s visibility and to audit ICOM’s needs in terms of staff and resources.

ICOM Resolutions and Statutes

Members were asked to vote on several resolutions that were presented at the ICOM General Assembly, which took place on 9 July. All four resolutions presented, and summarised as follows, were approved:

  • The responsibility of museums towards landscape as an essential element of humanity’s physical, natural, social and symbolic environment (Carta di Milano);
  • Inclusion, intersectionality and gender mainstreaming in museums;
  • Strengthening the protection of cultural heritage during and after armed conflict, acts of terrorism, revolutions and civil strife;
  • The promotion and protection of cultural objects on international loan.

The amendments proposed to the existing ICOM Statutes were addressed at an Extraordinary General Assembly, during which members voted in favour of the revised Statutes.

Closing Ceremony Handover: ICOM Kyoto 2019

The Closing Ceremony, which took place at the Triennale di Milano on the evening of 9 July, was attended by the newly elected ICOM President, Ms Suay Aksoy; the Vice Mayor of Kyoto City, Mr. Hiroyuki Fujita; Cultural Assessor of the City of Milan, Filippo Del Corno; Chair of ICOM Japan, Mr Tamotsu Aoki; ICOM President (2010-2016), Hans-Martin Hinz; newly elected Vice-president of ICOM, Alberto Garlandini; Chairperson of ICOM Italy, Daniele Jalla; and ICOM Director General, Anne-Catherine Robert-Hauglustaine. During the ceremony, in keeping with the ICOM General Conference tradition, the flag was handed over to the organisers of the next ICOM General Conference, to be held in Kyoto, Japan in September 2019. The theme of the conference will be Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition. 

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