Moroccan Cultural Heritage, African Identity Celebrated in Ethiopia
© AP Photo / Mosa'ab ElshamyIn this Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 photo, a band plays traditional music to attendees of the annual festival of Imilchil, that takes place in a small village in Morocco's Atlas mountains.
© AP Photo / Mosa'ab Elshamy
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Morocco has nine properties on the World Heritage List, including its capital city Rabat.
A roundtable discussion held in Addis Ababa pointed up the cultural diversity of Morocco as a crossroads of civilizations and emphasized the African identity of Moroccan culture.
The event brought together diplomats, officials from the African Union, representatives from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and various other distinguished participants.
Nezha Alaoui M’hammdi, Morocco's Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti, underscored the Kingdom's ongoing efforts to preserve and promote its rich cultural heritage. She pointed out that Morocco's identity as a meeting point of civilizations has enabled it to create a unique synergy among its diverse cultural legacies.
Morocco has placed culture at the core of its public policies and sought to bolster African cooperation to raise awareness among Africans about their cultural heritage. This was evident in Morocco's hosting of the extensive Benin exhibition titled "Art of Benin, from the Past to the Present: From Restitution to Revelation" at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat.
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The Kingdom has also initiated various programs to safeguard its cultural identity, including the inscription of numerous elements of its intangible cultural heritage on UNESCO's list. Morocco has additionally invested in the restoration of its historical and archaeological sites, reaffirming its commitment to cultural preservation.
Discussing African cultural heritage, Ambassador Nezha Alaoui M'hammdi highlighted its undeniable richness and diversity, describing it as a heritage that unites the continent's nations, strengthens their solidarity, and defines their collective identity. She stressed the growing importance of preserving and celebrating African heritage, especially given the ongoing efforts to repatriate classic African artworks that remain outside the continent.
Ambassador Alaoui M'hammdi emphasized that the restitution of African cultural heritage goes beyond the recovery of art pieces; it aims to preserve and pass down the history, values, and cultures of the African continent to future generations. She asserted that such restitution efforts enrich African culture, make it more diverse, and allow it to shine on the global stage.
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In conclusion, the roundtable called for close cooperation among African nations and constructive dialogue with countries holding African cultural assets. It urged African countries to work together to develop continental and national policies for the protection and promotion of their cultural heritage, with a particular focus on educating younger generations about its significance and fostering its preservation.
Additionally, the event encouraged the implementation of policies to support the sustainable development of the cultural and creative sector in Africa, contributing to the continent's overall progress.