ICOM further confirms its commitment in Egypt
A fruitful meeting was held on 8 October, 2014 between ICOM President Prof. Dr Hans-Martin Hinz, ICOM Director General Prof. Dr Anne-Catherine Robert-Hauglustaine, Minister of Antiquities of Egypt H.E. Dr Mamdouh Mohamed Gad el-Damaty, and Ambassador of Egypt to UNESCO H.E. Dr. Mohamed Sameh Amr. The ICOM representatives reaffirmed the organisation’s continued efforts in assisting the Egyptian colleagues.
On the same day, Ms Robert-Hauglustaine spoke at the UNESCO conference on Three Egyptian Museums: The Museum of Islamic Art, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization and the Greco-Roman Museum of Alexandria. Citing the international cooperation in favour of the Museum of Islamic Art, she presented ICOM’s various activities, including awareness-raising and preventive actions to support museums and museum professionals. She discussed ICOM’s three missions to Egypt thus far in 2014, and especially its assistance to the Museum of Islamic Art after the explosion that damaged the museum and its collections in January 2014.
“The first UNESCO-ICOM-ICBS mission allowed us to make a first-round assessment, generating a rapid response from the international heritage community. This mission also helped to determine the necessary measures to be taken, by all possible means.” She reported on the second mission in August 2014 in which ICOM coordinated international efforts carried out by experts from the Smithsonian Institution and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The experts observed the progress of the restauration work being conducted by their Egyptian colleagues and offered in-person training.” She emphasised the involvement of the international community, which was further confirmed during this mission. When Ms Robert-Hauglustaine travelled to Egypt in September with representatives of UNESCO, ICCROM and ARC-WH, she was herself able to witness the momentum of the restoration work and the international engagement in the project.
At the end of her speech, Ms Robert-Hauglustaine joined Ms Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, in proposing that the resources and expertise acquired through the restoration efforts should be shared and the strong international involvement should continue. She called for more involvement of the international heritage community in renovating the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo.
Photo: ICOM President and ICOM Director General in a meeting with the Minister of Antiquities of Egypt and the Ambassador of Egypt at UNESCO