Egypt signed two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Senegal and South Korea this week that are intended to contribute to the establishment of sustainable conservation policies for cultural properties, the support of mutual cooperation in the fields of archaeology and museums, and the exchange of experts and expertise between specialists in these fields, reports Nevine El-Aref.
The first was between Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and the Museum of African Civilisations run by the Ministry of Culture in Senegal. It was witnessed by president Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall.
The MoU aims to exchange experiences in the fields of the restoration and maintenance of discovered artefacts, museum management, exhibition design, documentation, and archiving, as well as to develop the educational and cultural role of museums in both countries to raise awareness among citizens.
Supporting cooperation initiatives in the field of cultural property preservation and joint scientific research in the field of antiquities preservation are other goals of the MoU, in addition to organising temporary antiquities exhibitions, archaeological events, lectures, conferences, seminars, workshops, and specialised training courses aimed at building the capacities of archaeologists and curators.
The two countries will also cooperate to combat the illicit trafficking in cultural and archaeological properties and work within the framework of the regulations governing the protection of antiquities and intellectual property in Egypt and Senegal.
The MoU was signed by Khaled El-Enany, minister of tourism and antiquities, and Aïssata Tall, the Senegalese minister of foreign affairs and Senegalese abroad.
The second MoU was signed between the SCA and the Cultural Heritage Administration of South Korea and aims to enhance cooperative projects in fighting the illicit trafficking of cultural properties, developing official development assistance projects in the fields of archaeology and museums, exchanging expertise in the fields of cultural heritage administration and the management and operation of services at archaeological sites and museums, and organising joint training sessions, workshops, seminars, conferences, and educational programmes.
It also aims to support the exchange of excavation missions, including the execution of archaeological research, surveys, conservation, preservation and the protection of cultural properties and the organisation of temporary exhibitions. It will help to ensure the exchange of expertise in applying the latest technology in the inscription of archaeological sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List and in the preparation of relevant studies and nominations, as well as in the field of underwater archaeology.
After signing the MoU, a joint Egyptian-Korean mission will restore the first pylon of the Ramesseum Temple on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 3 February, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.