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 exfiltrate them to Bamako, the capital of the country, in the most precarious of conditions. Thanks to the presence of a panel of renowned scientists and experts, the International Conference on Ancient Manuscripts of Mali will explore topics relating to the conservation and exploitation of these historic treasures and find lasting solutions to the current issues.
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.
For 3 days, government officials, researchers and members of local communities will meet in Bamako and debate the future of this rich cultural heritage around 6 main sub-themes. More specifically, this international gathering aims to:
- Creating a framework for exchange between various stakeholders, including scholars and 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.