Director-General at the Third Conference for a Euro-African Academic Partnership in TeramoDirector-General Webber Ndoro at the conference.

Director-General Webber Ndoro expressed the need to support ‘digital transformation’ across Africa at the Third Conference for a Euro-African Academic Partnership in Teramo, Italy earlier this month, joining delegates from African and European universities and international organizations to promote academic cooperation and socio-economic integration for young people. ICCROM co-organized the event with the University of Teramo, UNIDROIT, ICOMOS Italia, the Diocese of Teramo-Atri and the Directorate General for Development Cooperation at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

“We need to have the confidence to find answers to the questions of the future, with digital platforms holding the key to new opportunities and research,” he said. “Institutions must ask how we can bridge the digital gap that exists in Africa and cooperate to make sure younger generations are enabled.” In keeping with this theme, ICCROM chaired a session focused on the role of digital technologies in sustainable development, which included speakers from the National Museums of Kenya, Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy and École Du Patrimoine Africain.

The conference also reflected the aims of ICCROM’s Youth.Heritage.Africa programme by proposing new ways to care for and create economic value in cultural and natural heritage, with views to fostering intergenerational exchange and realizing the entrepreneurial potential of young people. These topics were discussed in a thematic session on accelerating youth employment, which included contributions from the African World Heritage Fund, UNESCO and CorpsAfrica, and helped shape the final recommendations of the event.

Rectors of African universitiesRectors from African universities at the event. Photo credit: Diocese of Teramo-Atri

The world has changed dramatically since the Declaration of Teramo was signed three years ago, providing new impetus for African and European partners to deliver on their promise to work together to protect heritage resources. With the protracted Covid-19 crisis adding to the list of imperatives, our Director-General used the conference to call for bold ambition to be matched with real action. “We hope that by next year this conference can be held in Africa and that the partners of this initiative will be able to report on the first concrete commitments.”

The Third Conference for a Euro-African Academic Partnership was held on 1 October 2021 as part of the Fourth International Forum of Gran Sasso, which ran from 30 September to 2 October 2021 under the aegis of the Italian Presidency of the G20.