The African continent has, often little noticed, an extraordinarily rich cultural heritage. The more than 2000 different African languages alone are evidence of a cultural diversity that is unique in the world. The sophisticated cultures of ancient Egypt, Ethiopia and Mali are examples of an eventful past. Of particular importance, and cited by UNESCO, are the unique styles of dancing and music (which, amongst others, significantly contributed to the Afro-American music culture) , traditional and religious customs as well as arts and crafts.
Social and cultural changes in the course of industrialization, modernization and urbanization of Africa have accelerated the breaking down of traditional structures and this can lead to the loss of knowledge that is passed on through generations (e.g. traditional medicine or architecture). Such knowledge could contribute to the formation of development concepts that are adapted to the local culture and environment while, at the same time, serving to shape the identity of individuals and groups.
Development projects in Africa require the interaction of multiple stakeholders with diverse cultural backgrounds. They often affect sensitive topics such as religion, gender and values, which can easily lead to difficulties in communication. Only projects that respect the local culture and needs can achieve long term success and acceptance.
GlobalDialogPals promotes intercultural exchange through events such as concerts, festivals or exhibitions, thereby enabling visitors to experience African cultures. We also contribute to the preservation of Africa’s cultural heritage for future generations through activities such as documentation and educational programs which will enable the local population to generate an income from cultural activities.
GlobalDialogPals aims to build a bridge between the countries of the global North and the African countries. Close to our heart is an exchange which will equally benefit both sides. We promote mutual understanding and tolerance. Our work is based on cooperation with a network of local and international institutions (e.g. universities, schools of music and art academies) and individuals in the arts and culture sector. Taking into account local conditions, we also aim to promote the economic independence of women as well as political and social education.
Promotion of cultural events
GlobalDialogPals supports and plans events that contribute to the promotion and experience of African cultures. These are, in particular, concerts, festivals, art exhibitions or movie screenings. In particular, young African talent, such as musicians and artists, and will be given the opportunity to present their work to a wider audience.
Educational programs in the cultural sector
In support of our partner sector, GlobalSkillPals, we offer educational programs in the area of arts and culture (e.g. instruction in the production of traditional handicrafts or training to become a dance teacher). Furthermore, educational programs in fields such as economics, marketing or tourism will help the local population to generate new sources of income from cultural activities.
Cooperation in cultural studies
We aim to promote research projects in the fields (or related fields) of anthropology, African studies, history and medical history in cooperation with international cultural institutions. Our goal is to document local customs (e.g. traditions, traditional healing) and the social life of the local population against the background of a rapidly changing social environment.
The knowledge generated from these studies will be made available to the public (e.g. through exhibitions), in particular to the groups involved. In doing so, we will take the opportunity to raise awareness of current social, economic or cultural challenges. Under the keyword „theater for development“, we will be able to carry a wide range of topics such as child- or women’s rights into the day-to day life of the individuals involved.
Financial & other support
Together with our cooperation partners we seek private donations and in-kind support, funds and sponsorships. Many of the events of GlobalDialogPals are not for free; the revenues are used to finance our projects. This includes entrance fees to cultural events (e.g. concerts, readings, exhibitions) and, in the long run, proceeds from the sale of literature, photographs or documentary films that were created by GlobalDialogPals for the purpose of documentation.
The projects of GlobalDialogPals are currently in development.
This year, we are planning several cultural events that focus on Africa in Jena (Germany).
In cooperation with the faculties of African Studies, Medicine and Natural Sciences of several German Universities, we plan to document and analyse, in the form of bachelor’s or master’s theses, traditional medical plants and healing methods in Cameroon. This not only contributes to the generation of academic knowledge but also to preserving traditional knowledge and to protecting the environment.