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Yale embarks on groundbreaking initiative with museums and cultural institutions across Africa

The Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) is launching a new initiative today that supports museums and cultural institutions across Africa, an endeavor that will establish a new network of leaders, educational programs, and strategic partnerships with universities and global institutions.

The goal is to cultivate a new generation of skilled practitioners in the culture and heritage sector, who will preserve and promote the continent’s rich collections, said Charlotte Ashamu, the Director of International Programs at IPCH.

“This initiative will develop vibrant programs 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 program tailored for leaders of museums, cultural centers, 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 program will give participants the opportunity to work with leading experts at Yale and across the globe, and receive personalized 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 program underscores Yale’s commitment to prioritizing and expanding its engagement with Africa through robust partnerships, scholarly activities, and contemporary dialogues.

“I am honored to welcome the first cohort of the Yale Directors Forum,” Salovey said. “This program will strengthen connections between members of the Yale community and exceptional leaders working in the culture and heritage sector across Africa.”

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 honor to join a distinguished network of peers and practitioners in Africa and globally.”

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