From July 26 – 28, 2023, UNESCO organised a training workshop for female military personnel in Africa in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The workshop was financially supported by UNESCO, MONUSCO and the Swedish government. Anna Kaiser was invited to train the officers and to represent the Center for Cultural Property Protection.
The three days programme took place at the barracks of MONUSCO, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinshasa and concluded with a visit to the National Museum of the DR Congo. 22 female participants from 12 African countries (West, East and Central Africa) came together to learn and discuss about cultural heritage, its importance and protection measures, with a focus on military measures and responsibilities.
The topics discussed ranged from the history of the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict to international law, a focus on protecting, destroying, and rebuilding Africa’s cultural heritage, the distinctive marking of cultural property, the responsibility and role of military personnel in protection cultural property during a military operation, and the role of female officers and culture in the process of peacebuilding. Anna Kaiser talked about the military obligations to protect cultural property and strategic plannings for the protection of cultural assets during a military operation.
On the final day of the workshop the participants had the possibility to go behind the scenes in the National Museum of the DR Congo, learn about protection measures on site, and preservation and handling of museum objects during visits to the depots and museum workshops. The site visit was accompanied by lively and in-depth discussions on how to best proceed during given emergencies threatening cultural heritage on site and its protection.