UNIDROIT welcomes the Director of the School of African Heritage

On Thursday 11 April 2024, UNIDROIT had the honour of welcoming Mr Franck Ogou, the Director of the School of African Heritage (EPA) to the seat of the Institute in Rome. He was greeted by UNIDROIT Secretary-General Professor Ignacio Tirado and received by Ms Marina Schneider, Principal Legal Officer and Treaty Depositary, who leads UNIDROIT’s projects relating to the international protection of cultural property.

EPA is a regional and international university institution specialised in the conservation and mediation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, recognised by the African Union (AU) as a Pan-African Organisation since 2015. For nearly 30 years, EPA has advised and technically assisted countries, communities, associations and cultural entrepreneurs across Africa. It offers French-, Spanish-, Portugueuse- and English-speaking African States the opportunity to strengthen professional capacity in the conservation and enhancement of cultural and natural heritage.

Over the years, the relationship between UNIDROIT and EPA has continued to develop, in collaboration with partner organisations such as UNESCO and ICCROM, during training courses and capacity-building workshops for professionals aimed at raising awareness of the importance of ratifying the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects for States which have not yet done so.

Previously, UNIDROIT participated in the EPA-UNESCO online training entitled “Introduction for heritage professionals to current issues in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property in West and Central Africa” in July 2021. Additionally, UNIDROIT took part in a strategic planning meeting of ICCROM’s “Youth.Heritage.Africa” Programme, which was held in Porto Novo (Benin) in October 2023, as well as a regional workshop on the theme of “Strengthening operational networks to combat theft and illicit trafficking of cultural property in West Africa: Taking stock and sharing experiences” in Dakar (Senegal) in December 2023.

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