The Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) launched an initiative this month that supports museums and cultural institutions across Africa, an endeavour that will establish a new network of leaders, educational programmes, and strategic partnerships with universities and global institutions.
The goal was to cultivate a new generation of skilled practitioners in the culture and heritage sector, who would preserve and promote the continent’s rich collections, said Charlotte Ashamu, Director of International Programs at IPCH.
“This initiative will develop vibrant programmes to promote a deeper understanding of the world’s cultural heritage and create a unique platform to foster learning, creativity, and innovation within the field,” Ashamu said.
A crucial component of this initiative is the launch of the Yale Directors Forum, a fellowship programme tailored for leaders of museums, cultural centres, libraries, archives, and heritage sites, all of which play an integral role in preserving cultural heritage for present and future generations in Africa.
The 18-month programme will give participants the opportunity to work with leading experts at Yale and across the globe, and receive personalised executive coaching and advisory services on the preservation and care of collections.
Yale University President, Peter Salovey, who established the Yale Africa Initiative in 2013, said the new programme underscored Yale’s commitment to prioritising and expanding its engagement with Africa through robust partnerships, scholarly activities, and contemporary dialogues.
“This programme will strengthen connections between members of the Yale community and exceptional leaders working in the culture and heritage sector across Africa,” said Salovey.
The first cohort consists of 17 fellows from 12 African countries. This diverse group includes Chao Tayiana Maina, an award-winning historian from Kenya; Michaella Rugwizangoga, Rwanda’s Chief Tourism Officer; and Makhosi Mahlangu, a chef and specialist in indigenous foods from Zimbabwe.
“This fellowship is an exciting opportunity to learn and contribute to contemporary discourse around the preservation of cultural heritage,” said Seun Oduwole, Co-founder and Director of Living Objects, who is one of the selected fellows. “It is an honour to join a distinguished network of peers and practitioners in Africa and globally.”