Msheireb Museums celebrates International Museums Day, receives international acclaim from the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism
Msheireb Museums, the cultural and tourist destination at Msheireb Downtown Doha, celebrated the 2020 International Museums Day by posting awareness videos with the theme of this year’s celebrations, “Diversity and Inclusivity.”
Through engaging videos, Msheireb Museums shared its cultural and artistic treasures and galleries embodying these global values, including “DNA: A Journey to the Heart of Life” and the Bin Jelmood House’s focus on slavery and racism. Msheireb Museums also promoted inclusivity by focusing on multicultural themes and accessibility to visitors, particularly to people with special needs.
International Museum Day has been celebrated on May 18 since 1977. The objective of International Museum Day is to raise awareness on museums as a symbol of cultural exchange, and as beacons of mutual understanding, cooperation, and peace among peoples.
In this context and in reaffirming its mission, Msheireb Museums recently received a copy of the report prepared by the Professor E. Tendayi Achiume, UN’s Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance.. The UN Special Rapporteur was tasked with compiling a countrywide report on the state of racial discrimination as part of the “Special Procedures” of the UN Human Rights Council, the largest body of independent experts in the Human Rights system.
The report commends the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education for the critical investments it is making in using arts, culture, and sports to shift societal values, beliefs, and perceptions fundamental to equality and non-discrimination.
The report also praised Msheireb Museums, especially Bin Jelmood House, stating, “Bin Jelmood House at the Msheireb Museums is the first museum in the world devoted to the history of Indian Ocean slavery, and includes the history of slavery in Qatar. I commend the museum for the powerful and crucial contribution to Qatar and the world more broadly. As is the case in all nations, Qatar’s past is vital for understanding its present and shaping its future.”
Dr, Hafiz Ali Abdullah, Msheireb Museums Director said: “Msheireb Museums are major contributors to the cultural and artistic landscape in Qatar. Because of COVID-19 and its consequences, we celebrated International Museums Day using our digital platforms to reach our wider audience. On this occasion, we are proud to announce the outcomes of the visit of UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Prof. Achiume, to Bin Jelmood House and her commending the museum’s effort in shedding the light on the history of slavery in the region, raising awareness and promoting new understandings of human relationships, and fighting all forms of racism.”
“This report is a clear indication of the progress achieved by Qatar in supporting human rights and fighting all forms of slavery and racism. On the occasion of International Museums day, we would like to present this report to the people of Qatar and the whole world to demonstrate our effort and values acknowledged by the United Nations. It is also a reward of all efforts that enhance our country’s reputation and show its actions on the global stage.”
Msheireb Museums mark a very significant milestone for Msheireb Properties in realizing the vision of Msheireb Downtown Doha, Qatar’s first sustainable regeneration project. The Museums celebrate the history of four historic heritage houses in the heart of Msheireb Downtown Doha. Located within the oldest part of the capital, they form an essential part of Qatar’s national history. These reconstructed buildings and gallery spaces allow the community to engage in the significant aspects of Qatar’s past and memories of life before the country’s rapid economic development.
The overarching ambition of Bin Jelmood House is to raise awareness and play a pivotal role in the global abolition of human exploitation. The house also showcases and pays tribute to human perseverance and acknowledges the cumulative social, cultural, and economic contribution of formerly enslaved people to the development of human civilizations. The House explores the role Islam played in providing guidance for the humane treatment of enslaved people, their integration into society, and the eventual abolition of slavery. Bin Jelmood House tells of a time when there was a flourishing trade in enslaved people throughout the Indian Ocean World, a vast region of which the countries of the Arabian Gulf are a part of. The story in Qatar begins in enslavement but ends in shared freedom and shared prosperity.