The Closing Ceremony wraps up a hugely successful one-week Training Programme at the El Manial Palace Museum in Cairo
On Thursday 3rd December, at El Manial Palace Museum, a closing ceremony was held to conclude the Levantine Foundation Training Programme on Safeguarding Egyptian Written Heritage through Preservation, Conservation and Digitisation.
Due to Covid19, training was presented online by international academics specialising in Coptic, Islamic and Christian history, and by experts in codicology and conservation working in the preservation of ancient codices on parchment and paper. Forty-four delegates attended the programme at the Manial Palace Museum while over seventy participants from Egypt and Europe watched it on line.
The response was overwhelmingly positive, the Egyptian delegates expressed their immense gratitude for a unique opportunity to participate in this ambitious programme.
“The Programme highlighted the importance of creating an environment to
share skills and expertise across the international cultural heritage sector and for laying foundations for collaboration in order to shape the future of
museums and their collections across the globe”
Elizabeth Sobczynski, CEO, The Levantine Foundation
Highlights of the presentations were Georgios Boudalis’ lecture on Mediterranean
Book-bindings and the Principles of their Conservation, Alexia Melianou on The
Science of Book Conservation, and Dalia Nabawy’s research (Cairo Coptic
Museum), on Materials and Symbols: Black Inks in the Early Coptic Era. However,
the biggest success proved to be a presentation and life footage demonstration on
The Conservation of Paper Books and Manuscripts delivered by Giovanni Pagani
(Ricanati e Restauro) and Valeria Di Capizzi, who were kept for an hour after the
proceedings to answer an avalanche of questions from the audience.
Giovanni Pagani, a conservator who describes himself as a book doctor,
emphasised the exceptional talents assembled by The Levantine Foundation, such
as Ilana Tahan, Lead Curator of Hebrew and Christian Orient Collections, British
Library, Georgios Boudalis, expert on the Eastern Mediterranean Bookbinding
Structure and Alberto Campagnolo, one of the most renowned specialists in
“ancient books and manuscripts are like
a hidden and complex treasure, that needs many keys to be turned to be
understood. Modern technology offers us unparalleled virtual access to these
gems, It helps us to make ancient books and manuscripts freely open and
freely discovered, by a wider audience”
Working for the most renowned institutions in Europe and Egypt – the Vatican Library and the British Library, the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki, the Coptic Museum in Cairo and the University of Udine, academics and conservators successfully covered the entire subject of
ancient texts, from their history to preservation techniques, from the digitisation of manuscripts and codices under a conservator’s eye, to their curation and display.
Organised in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities, the Egypt Exploration Society and the Recanati e Restauro, the programme was the latest in a continuing and successful series of courses, running since 2009, for heritage professionals from the leading museums, libraries and monastic collections in Egypt, as well as for Egyptian university students.
The programme was generously supported by a grant from the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund, in partnership with the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
The Cultural Protection Fund aims to help to create sustainable opportunities for economic and social development through building capacity to foster, safeguard and promote cultural heritage. Since 2016 the fund has invested over £3.5 million in seven major projects in Egypt.
The Levantine Foundation is a non-political charity, registered in England 4506398, and in The Arab Republic of Egypt under Law No 84 (2002), registered charity number 1094436.