The Ecole du Patrimoine Africain (EPA), jointly established by ICCROM and the University of Abomey-Calavi in Porto Novo, has enjoyed a positive start to 2015. On 19 January it welcomed its newest Director, Mr Samuel Kidiba, and on 31 January, it received recognition as a Pan African school during the 24th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa. This continental recognition crowns EPA’s 15-plus years of activity and indicates a new phase of growth for the institution. It will enlarge its area of action and contribute to intercultural exchanges in Africa.
In February, for the first time since the creation of the EPA Fund in 2001, the Management Committee of the Fund organized its 15th meeting at the EPA headquarters. The Committee manages the investments of the EPA Fund, which offers sustainable support to the running costs of the school. The meeting was an opportunity for the Fund’s two financial advisors, Dr. Franco Passacantando, Advisor at the European Investment Bank and former Managing Director for Relations with International Institutions at the Banca d’Italia; and Dr. Marco Ambrogi, Director of the Banca d’Italia Agency in Perugia, to visit EPA and meet the staff. They were also able to see some of EPA’s achievements and visit important cultural sites in Benin: the Jardin des Plantes et de la nature (JPN), the Homné Museum, the mosque and the cathedral in Porto Novo; the museum in Adjara; and the Royal Palace in Abomey.
In 2014, the good health of the financial market and the advice of the Management Committee helped to strengthen the capital of the EPA Fund, which now amounts to 2.6 million euro. In addition, the Management Committee took the opportunity to meet the managers of Ecobank Benin, where 15% of the Fund’s capital has been invested since 2013. The outcomes of this meeting foresee future collaboration.
At the same time, EPA held the Thesis Defence for the 2nd edition of the Bachelor in conservation and promotion of cultural heritage. The jury was composed of teachers from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon – Sorbonne, the University of Abomey-Calavi, ICCROM and professionals from the continent. This 15-month Bachelor programme finished on 20 February with the opening of the exhibition The Speaking Calabash at the Alexandre Sènou Adandé Etnographic Museum, curated by the 13 course participants (from nine sub-Saharan African countries). The course was financially supported by the Getty Foundation, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Zaire province of Angola, as well as the countries of the participants and EPA.