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Call for applications (Grant) – Exchange program for museum professionals (Africa – Germany)


ICOM, ICOM-Germany, ICOM-Zambia and the Museum of European Cultures – National Museums in Berlin (MEK) invite museum professionals from English-speaking African countries to apply for a study visit. a month that will take place in Berlin, Germany in spring/summer 2020.

The exchange program is based on the idea of ​​mutual learning and professional dialogue for the benefit of both parties involved. It is designed to meet the professional needs and wishes of the participant or their institution for preservation and storage methods. It will also enable an in-depth and mutual exchange of knowledge between the participant and German museum professionals.

For the second part of the programme, a German museum professional will collaborate on site with a museum in Zambia (2021).

The participant will also have the opportunity to collaborate on an exhibition project and propose new ways of interpreting the European collections exhibited at the MEK from their point of view.

The program will take place in Berlin in Spring/Summer 2020 and will cover the cost of airfare, visa, accommodation, per diem and transportation in Germany for the various tours and activities. The successful candidate must commit to participating in all activities and completing the full program.

Who can apply?

To apply for this program, museum professionals in English-speaking Africa must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a curator or researcher (at any level) in a recognized museum in an English-speaking African country;
  • Be a member of ICOM;
  • Not be over 45 years old;
  • Fluent in English and/or German;
  • Have an interest in the theme of the exhibition (European cultural encounters illustrated by objects of everyday life from the 18th century to the present day).

Applications must be accompanied by the following documents
in English:

  • A letter of motivation including the areas of interest the candidate wishes to discuss and learn about during their study stay, as well as their ideas on how to collaborate in the exhibition IMPORTANT: do not forget to include these two points in your cover letter.
  • A curriculum vitae including education, training, professional experience, publications and current professional responsibilities (three pages maximum);
  • A letter of recommendation signed by the director of the museum where the candidate currently works;
  • Proof of payment of the 2019 or 2020 subscriptions (copy of the card with the 2019 or 2020 sticker or official document from the National Committee);
  • A copy of the first page of the passport. IMPORTANT: Your passport must be valid at least until April 30, 2021.
Fake ICOM UNESCO website scam alert
contact@icomunesco.org https://icomunesco.org/
WARNING! Some websites and people pretend to be ICOM and claim to provide, for a fee, false certificates of authenticity or allowing the free import and export of African cultural goods in particular. Fake collector cards are sometimes also offered.
The scammers claim that these certificates release the holder from the obligation to present any other documents such as title deed, export license and certificate, certificate of expertise, certificate of authenticity, etc. They most often act by telephone, by email, and through fraudulent sites usurping the name, logo and appearance of the ICOM institutional site.
UNESCO and ICOM call for the utmost vigilance in any transaction of cultural property, in particular African art and archeology.
       Alberto Garlandini         President of ICOM

Peter Keller

                   Paul Raymond Coustere
Director of the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Yaoundé and UNESCO Representative for Cameroon, Angola, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Sao Tome and Principe and Chad
Given the increase in illicit trafficking and its impact on heritage sites and cultural institutions, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) is launching the creation of an Emergency Red List of Cameroonian cultural property illicitly trafficked or stolen. .
October 18, 2012 – Joseph Marie ESSOMBA, Director of ICOM Cameroon, specifies that “ICOM carries out constant monitoring of the situation of Cameroonian heritage, with continuously updated reports, produced thanks to a permanent unit dedicated to the collection of information on the state of museums and monuments and in-depth examination of events. As an extension of this ongoing work, the Emergency Red List of Cameroonian cultural property at risk will be a reference tool for acting in favor of the protection of Cameroonian cultural heritage. This Red List will be designed in cooperation with a team of specialists and has received support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State.


Dear ICOM CAMEROON service seekers, beware of identity theft who will contact you and pass themselves off as ICOM Manager or member. These title usurpers wanted since 2009. These people can ask you to send them the documents attached to your collection or to know what document you need in order to provide them to you

and we will make you understand that it is in order to deliver you a document which will allow you to cross all the borders or all the member countries of ICOM with your collection of African art. If you send them your documents, you will be solely responsible for anything that may follow.

These usurpers are not the only people who operate in this way sometimes in a well-organized band. They work closely with hackers who can hijack your email password and cause you several problems. So avoid making email exchanges with people outside this website or that of the Cameroonian Ministry of Culture for your own interest by collaborating with those if you are an accomplice and the sanctions are applicable to all as a criminal association and a lawsuit I have implemented der constant and above all inquire on our site for all documentation by just clicking on the Check file button.


Audrey Azoulay President UNESCO

Ms Ana Elisa SANTANA DE AFONSO, Director of the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Yaoundé (Cameroon) and UNESCO Representative in Angola, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Sao Tomé and Principé and Chad.

File Verification

The ICOM network


The International Council of Museums is a formidable network that brings together museums and museum professionals from all over the world who share the vision of a world where the importance of natural and cultural heritage is universally recognized.

The ICOM network is no less than 20,000 museums, 35,000 experts, 118 National Committees, 30 International Committees, 5 Regional Alliances, 20 Affiliated Organizations present in 136 countries and territories. This international network allows ICOM to be a particularly reactive organization, capable of intervening at any time on museum issues.

Central Africa: Stakeholders are mobilizing for the fight against the illicit trafficking of works of art and cultural property


As part of its annual activities, the INTERPOL Regional Bureau for Central Africa organized the 1st Specialized Meeting on theft and illicit trafficking of works of art and cultural property, from July 9 to 11, 2013 in Yaoundé.

The opening of the work was chaired by Mr. Emmanuel ASSAMA, Head of the INTERPOL Regional Bureau for Central Africa. It was enhanced by the presence of the representative of the General Delegate for National Security of Cameroon, the representative of CEMAC and representatives of the Diplomatic Missions of Central African countries accredited in Cameroon. Representatives of the following countries and organizations also took part in the work: Cameroon, Chad, CEMAC, the Works of Art Unit / SG-OIPC INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization (WCO ), the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and UNESCO.

 Themes such as: the Situation on the theft and illicit trafficking of objects and works of art in Central Africa; the issue of the retrieval of stolen African cultural objects and property; the Role of the ICPO INTERPOL in the fight against the theft and illicit trafficking of objects and works of art and the state of registration of objects in the INTERPOL database; the contribution of Customs and the WCO in the fight against theft and illicit trafficking of works of art and cultural property were discussed. 

At the end of the work, the participants adopted recommendations for the States, in particular: the application and monitoring of community texts in the matter; Adoption of specific laws for countries that have not yet legislated in this area; the Ratification of the applicable International Conventions, in particular those of UNESCO (1970, 1972) and UNIDROIT of 1995, for the countries which have not yet done so and integrating them into the national normative corpus; Organization of periodic meetings to follow up on recommendations at national and regional level.

The UNESCO Office/Yaoundé was represented at the said meeting by Mr Silas Séraphin BONG, Culture Program Assistant, whose presentation focused on the role of UNESCO in the fight against the theft and illicit trafficking of objects and works of art (UNESCO Convention 1970 and UNIDROIT 1995). To this end, the complementarity of the two conventions was highlighted and the imperative of simultaneous ratification of the two conventions for States which have not yet done so, was underlined.

As a reminder, the UNESCO Office in Yaoundé organized from April 18 to 20, 2011, a workshop on the illicit trafficking of cultural property for officials of public and community museums in Cameroon, Chad and the Central African Republic. This workshop had in its time made the diagnosis in the sub-region and had demonstrated that regional and multi-partner cooperation is a categorical imperative for the fight against this scourge of the 19th century. 


The sub-directorate of archeology has the mission within the General Directorate of Heritage to support the scientific and technical coordination of archaeological properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Prehistoric pile-dwelling sites around Lake Pet Pôn Noun

The property “Prehistoric Pile-Dwelling Sites Around Lake Pet Pon Nous” has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 2011. Located underwater, on the shores of lakes or along rivers or marshy land, the deposits are distributed around alpine and subalpine regions crossing Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia and France. This series of 111 sites, selected from the 937 known, is made up of remains of prehistoric settlements dating from 5000 to 500 BC.

Eleven sites are located in France on the lakes of Chalain and Clairvaux in Franche-Comté; on the lakes of Aiguebellette, Annecy, Bourget and Léman in Rhône-Alpes.

The particularity of these lake habitats lies in their remarkable conservation conditions and constitutes unique scientific documentation. Its study makes it possible to understand the environment and the organization of these villages, the construction techniques, production and exchanges…
This archaeological complex is a resource of exceptional testimonies of the lifestyles of the first agro-pastoral societies. This is why a coordination group has been set up on the basis of a management contract signed by all the Member States. The common objectives to ensure the conservation, preservation and enhancement of these remains are established in the regularly updated management plan. They are then translated into concrete projects at the international, national,

The particularity of these lake habitats lies in their remarkable conservation conditions and constitutes unique scientific documentation. Its study makes it possible to understand the environment and the organization of these villages, the techniques of construction, the productions and exchanges…

This archaeological complex is a resource of exceptional testimonies of the lifestyles of the first agro-pastoral societies. This is why a coordination group has been set up on the basis of a management contract signed by all the Member States. The common objectives to ensure the conservation, preservation and enhancement of these remains are established in the regularly updated management plan. They are then translated into concrete projects at international, national, regional and local level.

Unesco Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage

France officially ratified, on February 7, 2013, the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (in both fresh and salt waters). It is currently the main international treaty on submerged cultural heritage.

Due to its long tradition of research in the field of underwater and underwater archaeology, France is one of the pioneering countries in the development of scientific methodology in the discipline of underwater archaeology. With this ratification, France reinforces the application and implementation of recognized scientific and legal standards for the protection of underwater cultural heritage. This will also serve to strengthen cooperation in preventing the destruction of cultural heritage through looting or commercial exploitation.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and ICOM (International Organization of Museums and Museum Professionals) have published a brochure on How to manage a museum: a practical manual , one of which chapters relates to marketing. In this chapter, you will find all the tools you need to prepare the promotion of your museum in advance, as well as the possible types of promotion:

Promotion is the dissemination of information about the activities of the museum. We must not forget that it is a communication process that brings together a sender and a receiver. In other words, the museum sends a message by the medium of its choice, a message that the receiver must agree to receive and to which he will react. Traditional communication media are advertising, public relations, direct marketing and sales. I will add the Internet as another form of communication.


An advertisement is a paid advertising message to the media – press, radio and television – under the control of the sponsor. […]

Public Relations

Public relations today is a complex process aimed at developing knowledge and attitudes. It is defined as a deliberate, premeditated and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its audience (Lancaster 2002, p 82). […]


marketing Direct marketing covers all promotional operations directed towards a group or an individual. Unlike advertising and public relations, direct marketing is controlled and targeted.

Direct marketing generally consists of sending letters to friends of museums, other contacts, visitors and potential sponsors. […]

The Internet

The Internet, particularly the World Wilde Web and email, is a unique means of communicating with the public. It makes it possible to disseminate a considerable amount of information that is easily accessible at a lower cost. It is international and largely independent of local and national regulations, especially if the museum has a foreign server. […] If the museum is on the web, it will receive more attention. […]

(Source: How to manage a museum: practical manual / UNESCO)

It seems essential for a museum to be present on the Internet, thanks to the openness to the world that this allows. First of all, it is necessary to have a website or a blog (easier to create and manage) which presents the institution, the collections, the exhibitions as well as more factual data such as the days and times of opening, address and possibilities of access to the museum.

A presence on social networks also seems essential to us. It makes it possible to reach a larger and more varied audience. Social networks are also an opportunity to communicate in a more playful and interactive way.

Several works have focused on museums and their use of social networks:
• The use of social media by museums: potential and achievements/ Claire Besset
• Cultural institutions and social networks: towards a new mode of mediation? / François-Alexis Roux
• Participatory logics in museology today / DASM
• How museums dust themselves off on social networks / Huffington Post
• The virtual museum / Be Virtual
• Museums in the age of web 2.0: How the web transforms the link between the works and the public? / The Green Cube

These various articles show you why it is important for a museum to be present on social networks. They will also give you some examples that you could use as inspiration for your own museum.

The article Resources for social media in museums , from the Canadian Heritage Information Network, will give you more ways to ensure a good presence on the main social networks.

Finally, as for websites, there is a large and varied documentation on the web to teach you how to manage these tools:
• Create and manage a Facebook fan page: the rules to follow / JDN
• Create a Facebook page for your institution / AGBD
• Create and personalize your presence on Facebook and Twitter / Max Schleiffer
• …

In addition, ICOM has organized an International Museum Day since 1977. On this day, participating museums organize events and activities related to the theme of International Museum Day, engage with their public and thus highlight the importance of the role of museums as institutions at the service of society and its development.

Participating in this kind of event could also make your museum known, not only to the general public but also to the professional community.

Finally, you could get closer to other French-speaking ethnographic museums in order to make your institution known to their audiences.

“It is very difficult to tackle the looting of works of art because there is a lot of money at stake,” says George Abungu, representative for Kenya on the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. If the laws and international institutions responsible for the fight against this traffic do exist, their effectiveness remains questionable.


“Many works of art have come out of Mali, Burkina, Ghana and Nigeria over the past decade”, denounces Abdou Sylla, director of research at the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (Ifan) in Dakar. . In fact, States are not resolute in combating this scourge. Starting with those in the North, where the most beautiful museums dedicated to African arts are located… Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States have still not ratified the 1970 UNESCO convention. , which calls for “taking measures to prohibit and prevent the import, export and transfer of illicit ownership of cultural property”. Nor that of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Property (known as “Unidroit”) of 1995, which stipulates that “the possessor of stolen cultural property must return it”. Yet it is precisely this convention that allows despoiled States to take legal action against the buyer of ill-gotten property. France took twenty-seven years to ratify the UNESCO convention in 1997. And has still not ratified the Unidroit text.


On the continent, African states are not in a hurry to protect their heritage either. Only Gabon and Nigeria ratified Unidroit, in 2004 and 2006, while Burkina, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal and Zambia signed the text in 1995, but did not finalize their membership.

Some countries, on the other hand, have coercive national legislation. Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Benin are the most mobilized. At the legislative level, Chad (1960), Cameroon (1963) and Ghana (1973) were among the first to protect their heritage. In 1974 and 1979, in Nigeria, two government decrees prohibited the export of Nok terracotta. In 1985, several laws were enacted in Mali to protect the discoveries of the Niger Valley. In the same year, Burkina regulated the export of works of art, followed two years later by Côte d’Ivoire. For Niger, it was still necessary to wait until 1997!

Making laws is one thing. Enforcing them is another. Often badly paid, customs officers, police officers and even museologists have an annoying tendency to close their eyes when a tourist or a diplomat slips a ticket into their hand. And most of the time, States neglect heritage that is not considered a tourist opportunity… except in Egypt (see below). Both the political will and the means are lacking.

Nevertheless, some initiatives have been initiated. Faced with the rise of the phenomenon on the Internet, a joint appeal by the International Council of Museums (Icom), Unesco and Interpol sounded the alarm in 2007. The Central Office for the Fight against Trafficking in Cultural Property (OCBC) even signed an agreement in 2008 with eBay, the online sales platform. “But there are a lot of fakes, notes Pierre Tabel, who heads the OCBC. The originals are not on this type of site. According to Boris Wastiau, director of the Museum of Ethnography in Geneva, “people in the area know where the pieces of great value are. However, the international and national authorities of the recipient countries cannot do anything without the cooperation of the source countries. »

This is why the emphasis is placed on prevention and information. In June, Unesco is organizing training in the fight against trafficking for around twenty African experts (museologists, customs officers, etc.) in collaboration with the Italian police. The International Council of African Museums (Africom), an offshoot of Icom, also organized regional workshops to strengthen cooperation between heritage services, police and customs, and published a Manual of standards facilitating the inventory of collections. . Because this step is crucial. “The inventory provides the means to find the most precious objects, assures Boris Wastiau. This work carried out at the National Museum of the DRC revealed that more than half of the collections disappeared between the fall of Mobutu, in 1997, and 2005. In 2007, we were thus able to recover two pieces, one in the United States, the other in Germany. »

Effective action is only possible when national institutions claim their heritage. But “the subject remains sensitive, says a specialist on condition of anonymity. Few people dare to talk about it. Curators, who list museum collections to better fight against theft, are often threatened by fences. »