On 28 and 29 November 2023, ICCROM along with Senghor University and more than 10 experts from different organizations and backgrounds, gathered to witness the launching of Utamaduni Heritage Hub, the first Heritage Hub in Egypt. The term “Utamaduni” stands for Heritage in Swahili language, while “Tamaduni” translates to civilization in Arabic. 

Launch of Utamaduni Heritage Hub in Egypt

The Utamaduni Hub aims to create and deploy a creative and dynamic Heritage Hub within Senghor University in Alexandria, Egypt, and set up capacity-building trainings, empowering young people to create entrepreneurial initiatives around cultural Heritage and run a strong network of cultural hubs across the continent. 

The participants highlighted the crucial need for synergies and collaboration among different stakeholders, including but not limited to government, the private sector and civil society. The core of the Hub’s objectives is to equip young professionals with the skills and tools for launching social businesses in the interest of cultural heritage. 

Launch of Utamaduni Heritage Hub in Egypt

The Hub's cross-cutting theme is cultural entrepreneurship, spanning diverse areas such as tourism, climate change, industrial heritage manufacture and information, and communication technologies intersecting with cultural heritage. As part of the capacity-building programme of the Hub, various thematic workshops are planned and include Cultural Heritage, Intersectional Cultural Heritage with Tourism, Climate, ICT and AI, Cross-cutting Skills, Basics of Entrepreneurship, Storytelling and Pitching and Pre-incubation Coaching. The programmes are geared towards young professionals aged 15 to 30 with basic knowledge of cultural heritage and with a business idea aligned with cultural heritage preservation. 

The Utamaduni Heritage Hub embraces applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, fostering inclusivity and diversity. Utamaduni Heritage Hub was launched as part of the ICCROM Youth.Heritage.Africa programme, contributing to a network of innovative spaces that act as catalysts for heritage conservation and entrepreneurship ecosystems. They provide an atmosphere where businesses and conservators may collaborate to secure cultural asset preservation and long-term use. The Utamaduni Heritage Hub fosters youth employability and entrepreneurship on the African continent, primarily focusing on Egyptian youth and a progressive coverage of other North African countries, such as Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. 

In the coming months, the project will focus on recruiting and coordinating the first cohort of young heritage entrepreneurs for training and incubation starting in March 2024. An extensive outreach, educational and creative programme will be implemented, engaging secondary school students and museums to deepen their understanding of heritage.