Bahrain among winners as Arab Cultural Guide Program announces preliminary results

  • article
  • article

Tunis, July 6 (BNA): The Department of Museums and Antiquities at Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA) has won the second prize in the Excellence Award in Museum and Cultural Guidance (for agencies and ministries) of the Arab Cultural Guide Program organized by the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO).


The results of the competition were announced during a press conference organized at the headquarters of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) in Tunisia.


The program was launched by Shaikha Alyazia bint Nahyan Al Nahyan, Ambassador for Culture for ALECSO, in March 2022 and it will continue until December 2022, in cooperation with ALECSO and with the participation of the Arab Organization of Museums (ICOM).


Shaikha Alyzaia made history in October when she became the first person to be appointed the ''Extraordinary Ambassador for Culture for ALECSO'' for 2021-2022, in recognition of her remarkable cultural and creative achievements locally, regionally and internationally.


The program, in which a number of Arab countries participated, aims to encourage the Arab youth to take interest in their heritage, preserve and promote it, and prepare a distinctive cultural guide through qualifying and providing the youth with integrated experiences and qualifications.


It keeps pace with the needs of museum visitors and cultural and historical sites, and is in line with the standards of international cultural guidance.


The program also creates a strong and unique relationship between museums and families during and after the program period.


The Arab Cultural Guide Program, with its motto “History is Our Gateway to the Future” has overseen many interactive and promotional programs, activities and competitions meant for the Arab cultural guides, museums and archaeological sites, which will continue for the rest of this year.


The program includes several stages that are implemented successively in various Arab countries. They revolve around highlighting the museum’s role in preserving the heritage and historical identity, in addition to being a cultural and research center that raises the awareness of the community in its different layers of cultural identity.


The competitions were one of the most important motivational activities, including three prizes in several fields.


Present at the ceremony were Dr. Mohamed Ould Amar, Director General of ALECSO, the Director General of the Arab Organization of  Museums (ICOM), Dr. Ech cherki Al Dhamali, Vice President of ICOM – Arab Regional Alliance& member of the advisory board of the International Council of Museums, Murad Al Mahmoudi Acting Director in the Department of Culture at ALECSO, Dr. Fathi Al-Jari, an expert in the Department of Culture at ALECSO, numerous directors of departments at ALECSO, cultural attachés in the embassies of Arab countries, winners, and media professionals.


Awards:


Excellence Award in Museum and Cultural Guidance (for agencies and ministries)


First prize: Ministry of Culture and Youth of the United Arab Emirates, Heritage and Arts Sector, Cultural Heritage Department


Second prize: Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities - Department of Museums and Antiquities


Third prize: Qatar Museums Authority


Excellence Award in Museum and Cultural Guidance (for museums and archaeological sites)


First prize: Sebastia Archaeological Museum, Palestine


Second prize: Djerba Traditional Heritage Museum, Tunisia


Third prize: Museum of Sidi Mohamed bin Abdullah in Essaouira, Morocco


Honoring unique posts of:


1- Mariam Al Raeisi, Director at the Natural History Museum of Oman


2- Shadia KhalafAllah from Setif National Public Museum, Algeria


3- Ryad Bakroum from Mukalla Museum, Yemen


“I am pleased to welcome you all to the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization on the occasion of this press conference dedicated to one of the most important programs included in the activities of the Ambassador for Culture for ALECSO, the Cultural Guide program,” Ould Amar said in his speech.


“The program was launched a few months ago and created an impressive movement in our Arab museums, offering our cultural guides the opportunity to launch numerous pioneering initiatives that received wide media coverage.”


He emphasized the great turnout since the program was known to all those interested in this field, including professionals, students, specialists and society, which indicated the originality of this idea, the foresight and discernment of Shaikha Alyazia and her devotion to the importance of these areas and her accurate knowledge of the needs of the Arab museums, custodians and visitors.


“The pioneering initiatives and various activities undertaken by our cultural guides in the framework of this program, foretell a bright future for our museums in our Arab countries and people with special needs and other groups interested in the culture and heritage, and for all that, ALECSO did not hesitate to adopt and support this program and put its great experience in coordinating a joint Arab action and providing all the conditions for its success,” he said.


“Today, as we present the results of this program, its participants, and the events it included, we recall the hour we announced its launch and the start of its implementation and the hope that led us to establish a periodic annual meeting for cultural guides in Arab countries to present their projects and initiatives and publicize their refined message. And we will set an annual date to roam our museums and enjoy the masterpieces of civilization and continue to encourage and motivate the young people in Arab countries to learn and honor the traditions and heritage and be immensely proud of it.”


Ould Amar renewed the invitation to visit our museums, historical monuments and archaeological sites, hoping that it will become a benevolent behavior and a well-established culture among the young people, students and masses of citizens to benefit from the richness of these immortal cultural edifices.


 


“This would not have been accomplished without the high degree of cooperation, coordination and joint work between the organization and the Ambassador for Culture for ALECSO’s program, on which we rely a lot in promoting the bright image of our organization through the various activities it contains, which are still many.”


He thanked all the participants and Arab countries that participated and the various media that accompanied this program since its inception and helped in introducing and promoting it, and the Arab Organization of Museums that helped in framing the participants, arbitrating their work and accompanying them throughout the different stages, the hard-working team of the organization and the representatives of the Ambassador for Culture for ALECSO program for achieving all this success.


Many Arab cultural institutions, including museums, have worked hard during the period of the Arab Cultural Guide Program to continue preserving the heritage, promoting it and attracting the public.


They believe that attention to tangible heritage and developing ways to display it in museums will return to the development of people’s social and psychological awareness of their cultural heritage, getting them closer to their authentic identity, considering that heritage is a vessel of cultural diversity and a factor that guarantees sustainable development - as stipulated in the 2003 UNESCO Convention relating to the safeguarding of cultural heritage.


Nine Arab countries participated in the first category of the competition: the United Arab Emirates through many museum institutions, Bahrain National Museum (archaeology & ethnography) in Bahrain, Djerba Traditional Heritage Museum in Tunisia, Archaeological Museum of Setif  in Algeria, the Natural History Museum of Oman, the Sebastia Archaeological Museum in Nablus - Palestine, the State of Qatar through several museum institutions, the Museum of Essaouira (archeology and ethnography) in Morocco,  and the Mukalla Museum in Yemen.


The participating countries presented a set of live visual presentations, organized visits to museums and archaeological sites for primary and secondary school students, distributed publications and museum guides, and held various workshops that contributed to transferring heritage into a tangible reality practiced by children, youth and all target groups.


Some of the participants also drew attention to specific categories of visitors, people of determination, people with special abilities, the blind, the elderly, specialists in cultural guidance, and foreign communities residing in their countries.


Stages of the Arab Cultural Guide Program


The Cultural Guide program is divided into six stages preceded by the preparation phase from November 2021 to February 2022 as follows:


•        March 1 - May 31: Opening the door for participation and receiving official contributions from museums, cultural organizations and the relevant ministry


•        April 20 – May 31: A total of 146 participants from 16 Arab countries registered to the Open call for the cultural guides


•        June 1-6: Participation requests were sorted according to some criteria including qualifications, experience and a desire to develop the sector and other academic standards, bringing the number of qualified people to 119 from 16 Arab countries


•        June 16: A virtual training workshop was organized, presented by three experts from the Arab Organization of Museums (ICOM), in which 76 participants from 15 Arab countries participated in empowering cultural guides and museum officials in terms of enhancing their modern technical skills, and allowing them to access knowledge and information. The last part of the workshop was a closed discussion by researchers, suggesting studies and ideas for a qualitative and positive role within the framework of the sustainable ideas’ competition.


•        July 5: Announcing the award categories and winners


•        September: Awards Ceremony


•        December: Organizing a tour of the winning museums


The results of the competition for sustainable ideas and projects will be announced after interviewing the finalists to select three winners and honorees from a list of nearly twenty projects and sustainable heritage ideas submitted by 12 Arab countries.