Areas of Intervention: Culture, Peacebuilding

“Museums for Peace” is proposed as a model of peace building intervention in areas most at risk of inter-ethnic conflict. The project aims to promote knowledge and mutual respect among different cultures, an important requirement for establishing open and constructive dialogue.

To achieve this goal, the project uses exhibitions and museum education to highlight shared ideals and similarities (without hiding their differences) which allow diverse cultures and faiths to interact and achieve specific objectives of common interest. Among these, especially in distressed areas of the world, the prime and most urgent objective is to improve the living conditions of local populations. The project “Museums for Peace” can define the bases on which to establish possible fruitful synergies that would achieve, in the field of culture, this essential purpose. Rather than through cultural assimilation, this harmony, in fact, is a result of appreciating and accepting diversity.

In this sense, the project involves the creation of small ethnographic museums and cultural centres that become driving forces of cultural exchange, promoting dialogue and mutual understanding among the various ethnic communities involved and on an international scale. A museum to reclaim their own cultures – and their identity as a people – and at the same time a museum to project outwards to the world, to encounter other cultures and peoples as equals, following the best practices of peaceful communication and dialogue promoted by the project actions.

Funded by the international cooperation of the Marche Region, “Museums for Peace” was born in Ethiopia, as a powerful example of coexistence between peoples and cultures, and then developed in Somalia. Currently the project focuses on four museums in Ethiopia (Oromo Ethnographic Museum – Federal State of Oromya; Kunama Ethnographic Museum – Federal State of Tigray; Suri Ethnographic Museum – Federal State of Southern Nations, Irob Nationalities and Peoples Ethnographic Museum – Federal State of Tigray) and two in Somalia: one in Mogadishu and one in the Somali state of Puntland.