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Activity Report 1998 - 2001
Advisory Committee
Alissandra Cummins, Chairperson of the Advisory Committee

The period under review can be characterised as a time for planning and partnership both within ICOM, and within the broader heritage community. The Advisory Committee's work in both contexts has been critical in demonstrating the organisation's development and achievements.

ICOM has been actively engaged over the past three years, in a process of evaluating its own performance, planning for change, and envisioning both its organisational future and the prospects for the museum community worldwide. The Advisory Committee has played a highly significant role in this process: first in its statutory capacity selecting nominees for the Executive Council, the Ethics Committee, the Reform Task Force, the confirmation of Barcelona to host the General Conference in 2001 and the acclamation of Seoul to host the 2004 General Conference. Also with members' active participation in a record five sessions , four regular sessions and one extraordinary session just latterly in December 2000; second, in members' decisive involvement in the various committees and working groups established during the triennial period, to explore issues and sustain dialogue.

This dynamic approach has served to capture the passionate issues and concerns of the broader museums community. I have been much impressed by the dedication evident from all the participants involved in this highly important exercise. Constant dialogue and communication have helped to synthesise a new framework for action that finally received the endorsement of the Advisory Committee in December, after transparent and rigorous review. Once again the commitment of our members, both old and new, assisted greatly in ensuring the success of a broad consultative process.

Membership has increased significantly over the last three years. We have welcomed the creation of five new National Committees and the reorganisation of eleven others. Three new International Committees have also been established: DEMHIST (Historic House museums) and UMAC (University museums), as well as the transformation of ICOMAM (Arms and Military History Museums) from an Affiliated Organisation; in addition new linkages were forged with two Affiliated Organisations: the International Association of Customs Museums (IACM) and The Pacific Islands Museums Association (PIMA).

The Advisory Committee has also renewed itself through the critical appraisal and review of of the mission and mandate of three other International Committees, which have been renamed as a result. Beyond this activity International Committees have also examined closely their functionality as an important part of ICOM ,as the organisation's main instrument of action to implement policies and programmes. This assessment has led to a number of proposals within the reform process, spearheaded by the Reform Task Force, which have significant implications for change in the future. These have been encouraging developments, clearly demonstrating the continued desire of museum professionals to fully engage with their colleagues in the international museum community.

Nevertheless, there is still room for concern where it is clear that such increases have come largely from amongst the developed countries, coupled at the same time with a worrying decline in numbers generally from all regions, with the exception of Europe. The Advisory Committee has been sensitive to these trends, advocating a very proactive approach to broadening participation in ICOM, and members have continually given voice to concerns in this regard. Stress has been placed on the need for ICOM to give priority to ensuring the inclusion of members from developing countries at all levels within the organisation.

In the context of the Advisory Committee's role as a consultative body, where flexibility and innovation have been key components in the reorganisation, and also in its capacity as the voice of the members examining ICOM's programme plans and execution, it has served to emphasise the importance of a strategic balance between advocacy and action in guiding the work of the organisation. In addressing both regional imperatives and a global context, ICOM has reconfirmed the importance of its activities in the areas of museum training and capacity building. ICOM members have focussed their activities in a number of areas notably in fighting against illicit traffic in cultural property, enhancing information exchange, harnessing new technologies and infrastructures such as <.museum> , as well as ensuring the sustainability of museum development in a globalise world.

Other major issues continue to claim our attention in order to ensure the healthy growth of ICOM as an international organisation. International Committees continue to seek the means to rationalise and regionalise their audience and functions. National Committees must ensure growth and continuity, particularly in those territories still traumatised or suffering the depredations of war or natural disasters, where the cost of membership involves unimagined sacrifice.

Against this backdrop the Advisory Committee has demonstrated its willingness to envision the complete restructuring of ICOM 's policy, proposing revisions to the organisation's Code of Ethics, Mission and values, broadening the definition of museums to be more inclusive of new philosophy and practice, and reconfirming the profession's commitment to sharing knowledge, resources and experience . These matters will preoccupy us at the upcoming General Conference in Barcelona in July, 2001.

ICOM must continue to seek innovative ways to increase the representativity of membership both regionally and across the disciplines, while retaining the integrity of the profession. This is our challenge for the next three years and beyond.

The Advisory Committee

Chairperson: Alissandra Cummins (Barbados) Vice-chairperson: Kassaye Begashaw (Ethiopia) until 2000
GŁnther Dembski (Austria) until 2001

During the triennal period, the Advisory Committee held its 57th, 58th, 59th, 60th sessions and an extraordinary session in December 2000.

Following the resignation of Kassaye Begashaw from his position of Chairperson of Advisory Committee in early 2000, GŁnther Dembski was elected to replace him until July 2001.

The Advisory Committee renewed the mandate of the working group on ICOM International Committees:

Representatives of National Committees: Ralf Ceplak Mencin (Slovenia)
Adberrahmane Khelifa (Algeria)
Virgil Nitulescu (Romania)
Marie-Christine van der Sman (The Netherlands)
Representatives of International Committees: Eszter Fontana (CIMCIM/Brazil)
David Grattan (ICOM-CC/Canada)
Nancy Hushion (INTERCOM/Canada)
Jean-Marcel Humbert (AVICOM/France)

The working group appointed Marie-Christine van der Sman as Chairperson and Jean-Marcel Humbert as Rapporteur.

During the triennial period, the working group pronounced its opinion on the request for a new name of ICAMT as well as ICAA. It also pronounced itself regarding the change of status of IAMAM and the creation of a new International Committee for University Museums and Collections.

Extraordinary Session

Following the report of the ICOM Reform Task Force in June 2000, the Advisory Committee decide to convene an extraordinary session in December 2000 in order to have additional time to further discuss the recommendations of the ICOM-RTF with the members of ICOM Committees.

Updated: 17 June 2005