At its 129th session from 30 May to 1st June, 2014, ICOM’s Executive Council approved the creation of three new National Committees: ICOM Chad, ICOM El Salvador and ICOM Kazakhstan.
As a result of the rapid growth of museums in these countries and a desire for increased museum collaboration, discussions about creating a National Committee in Chad, El Salvador and Kazakhstan had been ongoing since 2013.
At its creation, ten institutional members and more than five individual members joined ICOM Kazakhstan, representing a variety of museums including: history and archaeological museums, art and contemporary art museums, memorial museums, university museums, etc. Members of ICOM Kazakhstan attended ICOM’s Annual Meetings in June 2014 for the first time and were eager to participate in the international museum community.
An ICOM National Committee had already existed on and off in Chad between 1985 and 2005, and in 2013 a request to re-establish a committee was addressed to ICOM. Thanks to the committee’s reorganisation efforts, ICOM Chad has thrived, now counting about 20 individual members in comparison to one in 2013. Welcoming this new francophone African National Committee into the ICOM community will contribute to ICOM’s focus on expanding its network and broadening its activities in Africa as part of its strategic orientations.
ICOM’s 23rd General Conference in Brazil in 2013 has proven to be an excellent opportunity for ICOM to expand its network and better serve Latin American museums. Colleagues from El Salvador took advantage of the General Conference to become familiar with ICOM’s different committees. Upon the advice of their colleagues from ICOM Regional Alliance ICOM LAC, they joined ICOM and created their own National Committee with the guidance of the ICOM Secretariat.
The reasons for creating a National Committee may vary and the structure may differ, but active National Committees have proven to represent, serve and promote their local museum community through regular activities and projects at a national, regional and international level. They are also an asset in building a bridge between the museum professionals within their country and their peers around the world. So far, ICOM is present through 117 National Committees and in 136 countries and territories. With its network of 35,000 museums and museum professionals, ICOM is the unique organisation representing the museum profession across the world.