16.12.2014 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

International Conference on Ancient Manuscripts of Mali

Burnt Manuscript at IHERI AB ©UNESCO/A. Maiga

With the armed conflict that occurred between 2012 and 2013, Mali's cultural heritage, including its ancient manuscripts, was severely damaged. In Timbuktu, many valuable manuscripts were burned or stolen, forcing their owners, communities and local NGOs to send them to Bamako, the capital of the country, in the most precarious conditions.

A panel of renowned scientists and experts will meet in Bamako at the International Conference on Ancient Manuscripts of Mali from 28-30 January 2015. They will explore topics relating to the conservation and use of these historic treasures and find lasting solutions to ensure their continuous safeguarding.

Under the theme "Ancient Manuscripts facing modern day challenges", the conference is organized by the UNESCO Office in Bamako, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Mali and the Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research Ahmed Baba (IHERI AB), in partnership with the Malian Ministry of Culture and the NGO SAVAMA-DCI.

Improve the efficiency of managing the manuscripts

Government officials, researchers and members of local communities will debate the future of this rich cultural heritage around 6 main sub-themes. More specifically, the international gathering aims to:

  • Create a framework for exchange between various stakeholders, including scholars, technical and financial partners, to improve efficiency of the management, conservation and use of the manuscripts in the fields of scientific research and university training.
  • Obtain a coherent understanding of the challenges faced by the ancient manuscripts of Mali and provide food for thought on the conservation and exploitation of these manuscripts in the short, medium and long term.

The conference will also be an opportunity to involve the Malian public in the debate about the future of their cultural heritage, to determine the ways in which the international community will assist national authorities in this process and set an institutional framework that will regulate the management and protection of ancient manuscripts.

Contact: Sokona Tounkara: s.tounkara(at)unesco.org; Oumou Sanogo: o.sanogo(at)unesco.org

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