France’s foreign minister underlined the importance of cross-cultural exchange in times of crisis.
Rabat – Morocco’s National Museum Foundation (FNM) and France’s Development Agency (AFD) signed on Monday a €300,000 grant agreement to fund a pan-African training program for professionals in the field of museums and heritage.
FNM President Mehdi Qotbi signed the agreement with the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean Yves Le Drian, at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat.
The agreement aims to consolidate the FNM’s position as a bastion of know-how in terms of heritage conservation and preservation, as well as cultural engineering, according to Morocco’s state media.
Under the agreement, the involved parties are set to implement a program of capacity-building and the exchange of experiences within the framework of pan-African cooperation.
The program will mobilize some 30 experts from France and Francophone countries in West Africa to establish a network of African experts in the field of museums and heritage, which Morocco’s FNM will lead and coordinate.
“In a period of uncertainty, antagonism, and misunderstanding, culture must take a more prominent place to help dispel misunderstandings,” Qotbi stressed. “We must come together and prove our humanity through sharing, dialogue, and exchange.”
The AFD director in Morocco, Mihoub Mezouaghi, underlined the value of Morocco’s geographical position and experience, saying the country is “endowed with a museum engineering capacity that is highly recognized internationally.”
Le Drian emphasized that Morocco is a key African player in the museums and heritage field. The new partnership between FNM and AFD demonstrates the strong, diverse, and long-standing cultural ties uniting Morocco and France, he added.
“In these times of crises — health crisis and crisis linked to terrorism and extremism — it is very important to fight against the temptation of withdrawing into oneself,” the French official said, underling the importance of cross-cultural exchange.
France’s Minister of Interior Gerald Darmanin made similar remarks when he met Qotbi at the Mohammed VI contemporary art museum in Rabat last month, welcoming Morocco’s promotion of cultural openness.
Qotbi said Darmanin’s visit was a “strong cultural message to Moroccans” and the world as it “constitutes recognition of the work of King Mohammed VI, who [has given] a considerable place to culture.”