ICOM General Conference on the theme ‘Museums for Social Harmony’ in Shanghai, China


The theme of the General Conference ‘Museums for Social Harmony’ reflects the willingness of ICOM to bring cultures together and open dialogues between different backgrounds.
Harmony is a concept significant for both Humanity and for representing Eastern cultures. The basis of social harmony lies in dialogue, tolerance, coexistence and development, based on pluralism, difference, competition and creativity. Fundamentally, social harmony is ‘to agree but to stand out, to look for common ground but keeping the difference.’
Museums in the 21st Century are at the cross roads of major transformations in the global economy and environment. They are in a position to address the urgent need for safeguarding cultural diversity and bio-diversity as the common heritage of humanity. The ICOM General Conference was a critical milestone for intercultural dialogue to promote mutual respect and inclusion; it brought together a range of expertise from across the world to encourage new models of collaboration and it provided a platform to share and critique demonstration projects by participants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Emphasis was also put on appropriate capacity building for promoting cultural exchanges and future project development.
Keynote speakers’ session were moderated by Amareswar Galla (Australia) and Kidong Bae (South Korea):
o H.E. Alpha Oumar Konaré, former President of Mali (Mali) – The Increasing Enrichment of Museology
o Lourdes Arizpe, professor at the National University of Mexico (Mexico) – Memory, Reverence and Innovation –which Museums?
o Okwui Enwezor, curator, writer and scholar (USA) – Off-Centered: Modernity and Postcolonial Ambivalence
o Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Council of Europe’s Director General of Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport (Italy) – Europe, museums and intercultural activities
o Xiejun Chen, Director of Shanghai Museum (China) – Museum Management ‘Committed to Social Harmony’
o Jinshi Fan, curator and researcher of the Dunhuang Academy (China) – Preservation and Utilisation of Cultural Relics and Exploration of Harmonious Development – Based on Preservation Practices of Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang
A series of open forums took place celebrating the theme among participants: Culture of volunteering and the volunteering spirit in Museums in the 21st Century (in partnership with WFFM), Economic and development strategies for museums and Cultural diversity and the development of minority communities in social transformation (initiative of ICOM China, ICOM Netherlands and ICOM South Africa).
The speech from former French President Jacques Chirac at the closing ceremony also brought thoughts on cultural diversity and the necessity for nations to talk and to bring peace and harmony.
Around 3,600 museum professionals representing 122 countries, territories and international organisations participated in this triennial event for the world museum community.

Niveau d’intervention géographique

  • International


  • Construire un cadre de valeurs communes
  • Renforcer l'éducation de qualité et le développement de compétences interculturelles

Pays bénéficiaire (s) / Groupes cibles

  • Museum professionals
  • World museum community

Nom de l’organisation / Entité responsable principale

International Council of Museums

07/11/2010 - 11/11/2010