International Museum Day celebrated with a focus on Sustainability and Quality of Life

Nevine El-Aref , Thursday 18 May 2023

The Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), the Museums Sector, and the National Committee for Egyptian Museums (ICOM Egypt) commemorate International Museum Day at the Manial Palace with a forum themed "Museums, Sustainability, and Quality of Life."

Ahmed Sshawky museum. photo: Al-Ahram

The forum's objective is to heighten awareness regarding the pivotal role of museums in promoting mutual understanding and cultural exchange among diverse cultures.

World International Museum Day was inaugurated in 1977 and is celebrated on the 18th of May every year.

Since 1977, the ICOM has organized International Museum Day (IMD), an annual event that serves as a special occasion for the global museum community, according to the ICOM website. 

The primary goal of IMD is to promote awareness of museums as vital platforms for cultural exchange, the enrichment of cultures, and the cultivation of mutual understanding, cooperation, and peace among peoples.

By focusing on sustainability and quality of life, this year’s IMD aims to raise awareness about the significant role of museums in facing environmental challenges.

It also seeks to highlight the value of culture and heritage as essential elements for sustainable development and improved quality of life.

The discussions revolved around the challenges that museums face and their potential to contribute to implementing UNESCO's recommendations in the field of culture.

The forum will explore the connection between museum practices and UNESCO's conventions and stress the importance of effectively implementing these recommendations in the museum sector.

"Museums have the power to transform the world, as they serve as vital channels for cultural and civilizational exchange among different societies," stated Mostafa Waziry, the Secretary General of the SCA.

He further stressed that the ministry has improved visitor services at numerous archaeological sites and museums throughout Egypt. 

Furthermore, Waziry highlighted the establishment of new museums in Sharm El-Sheikh and Kafr El-Sheikh. In addition, he spoke about the ongoing development of existing museums, including the forthcoming opening of the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria.

The antiquities and tourism ministry has collaborated with UNESCO Cairo to develop several noteworthy museums, including the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), Museum of Islamic Art, Gayer Anderson Museum, and Manial Palace Museum, with the support of the Italian Government.

Nuria Sanz, Director of the UNESCO Office in Cairo, said that the activity achieved an outstanding formula that brought together national museum professionals and various key stakeholders in Egypt.

This collaborative platform facilitated valuable information exchange and networking. It also helped the participants to reflect deeply on the role which museums effectively play in implementing UNESCO Culture Conventions and the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development's (MONDIACULT) declaration.

The declaration perceives culture as a global public good with an intrinsic value.

In this context, Moamen Othman, Head of the Museums Sector, stressed that all museums play a role in shaping and creating a sustainable future through practices such as educational and awareness programmes, exhibitions, community outreach and research.

Since 2020, International Museum Day has supported several sustainable development goals. In 2023, the IMD will focus on goals related to global health, the quality of life, the climate, and life on Earth.


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