National Museums of Kenya Director-General Prof. Mary Gikungu has hailed the support extended to the institution by the People’s Republic of China for it to effectively carry out its mandate.
Prof. Gikungu disclosed that China has backed the institution for many years through various novel initiatives thanks to the strong diplomatic ties between Nairobi and Beijing.
“The two countries have had a long-standing cordial working relationship. As a result, National Museums of Kenya has received extensive support from the People’s Republic of China through its embassy in Nairobi in the heritage sector. Kenya also enjoys the shared prosperity with China through the Kenya Chinese community at Shanga in Lamu County,” she said
She particularly highlighted capacity building efforts in several areas of cultural and heritage conservation, as one of the key pillars of the relationship.
In this regard, she lauded China for scholarship programmes that have seen 52 MSc and 12 PhD students trained in Chinese Universities supported by China within a collaborative projects between the institution and Chinese Academy of Sciences.
“NMK research scientists have received support through academic exchange programs in Chinese academic institutions on areas of biodiversity conservation,” stated the DG
“Some of the key notable achievements in this area include successful joint research program in underwater archaeology between Kenya and China,” NMK Director General said during the African partners CMG Media Cooperation Forum 2023 held in Nairobi this week.
Addressing the forum graced by Mr. Hu Heping, the Vice Minister of the Publicity Department of the central Committee of the communist Party of China and Minister of Culture and Tourism, Prof. Gikungu expressed optimism that the partnership with China will extend further to National Museum’s efforts in innovative research. She stated that this will help in the realization of President William Ruto’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, as well as the Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The NMK boss argued that due to climate change and impact on cultural heritage, livelihoods have been disrupted and that continued collaboration can help address the challenge and build sustainable livelihoods.
At the same time, Prof Gikungu acknowledged the huge number of Chinese travelers that have made Kenya their holiday destination.
“Both Kenya and China have shared opportunities on cultural tourism promotion and Kenya can benefit from the growing Chinese tourist numbers,” she said
She spoke at a time, Chinese exhibition titled “Journey Through Civilizations has been earmarked for screening in Kenya, and National Museums was chosen as one of the venues for the exhibition. It will showcase the richness of the Chinese cultures, arts, traditions and historical narratives.
“The National Museums of Kenya takes gratitude in displaying this exhibition as it provides a perfect opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the use of digital technologies to recreate a mobile, immersive and interactive time-space framework and restore china’s key archaeological sites to trace the origins of Chinese civilization,” she said