Hadeer Belal (Egypt, ITP 2013) visits the Uganda National Museum to discuss the country’s cultural heritage

In 2017 the International Training Programme gave its first Collaborative Award to Abiti Nelson (Uganda, ITP 2013), Jackline Nyiracyiza Besigye (Uganda ITP 2013); Hadeer Belal (Egypt, ITP 2013), Kizili Wendland Chole (Kenya, ITP 2013) and Shadia Abdrabo (Sudan, ITP 2006).

The project aims to create a community exhibition of South Sudanese refugee stories from camps in northern Uganda, which can tour school and camps in that region. It is envisioned that the exhibition will bring social healing using objects, arts and people, building on Uganda National Museum’s recent work with displaced communities in northern Uganda.

Last month, team member Hadeer Belal visited the Uganda National Museum to take part in a panel discussion and debate on cultural heritage in Uganda and to share her skills and experiences of museums and culture in Egypt.

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Abiti tells us ‘we were delighted to receive Hadeer in Kampala and ideally, the week she arrived was the celebration of International Museums Day 2019: Museums as Cultural Hubs: The future of tradition.

The first day we spent with activities – first giving Hadeer an introduction to the Uganda Museum and then Hadeer presented in a public talk with panellists who included Dr. Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza, professor and curator Makerere University, Suzan Kerunen, musical singer and Sewasewa, a musician.

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The following day she participated in a high school live debate on the diversity of cultural heritage in Uganda.

The main highlight was the exhibition on Idi Amin which reflects on the histories of Uganda and also engages in dialogues especially on young people appreciation’.

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Hadeer shares with us ‘I met Nelson at the Museum and he guided me around and gave a brief introduction about the Museum’s history and collection. Then, I participated in panel session about “Culture and Business Conference Opportunities in the Culture Sector Music”.

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I was one of the speakers and first, I introduced myself and gave a brief introduction to my Museum (the Coptic Museum in Cairo). Then I talked about how we use temporary exhibitions to spread our culture sharing an example of the Tones of Civilization exhibition 2015 and our experience of inviting the South Sudanese community in Egypt to the opening to perform the music and dance as a way to exchange our cultures together. 

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I was very impressed by the audience interaction in the panel session and I made many connections with them after the session.

I gained a lot of information about Uganda’s culture and was surprised with the audience’s many ideas to develop their country and raise the awareness of the local community about the importance of Museums as a way to protect their culture heritage.

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The following day I participated in an important a debate about cultural heritage for secondary schools. It was amazing to know more about what the young people think about culture and heritage. The debate focussed on the advantages and disadvantages of culture diversity and culture unity. At the end of the debate I had the opportunity to introduce myself to the young audience and comment about how we can profit from the culture diversity to raise our economies both in Egypt and Uganda.

Finally, I had the opportunity to attend a great event – the opening of the temporary exhibition about the unseen archive of Idi Amin, one of Uganda Presidents. I was very excited to see it’.

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