Source: The Reporter
The U.S Embassy in Ethiopia and the Harari Culture and Tourism, and Information Bureau, signed Thursday two agreements on cultural preservation of the Teferi Mekonnen Palace in the walled city of Harar. A total of USD 70,150 grant is allocated as the first grant from the ambassador’s fund for cultural preservation.
The embassy said that the first grant from the fund for cultural preservation was USD 35,000, and it would be used to preserve the palace. The grant provides for a survey of the structure, the documentation of the present state of the building and its context and the structural consolidation work required carrying out further conservation work and preventing further deterioration of the palace itself.
The second grant from the U.S. Embassy provides USD 35,150 to catalog and preserve the collection of Islamic manuscripts currently held at the palace. The grant would provide the equipment and supplies needed to establish a manuscript preservation center at the palace that would protect and conserve the important collection of Islamic manuscripts in Harar.
The embassy said that it was also providing for an American Fulbright manuscripts specialist to visit Harar later this summer to do an assessment of the manuscripts and develop a work plan for their preservation and presentation at the palace.
Mr. McClellan, counselor for public diplomacy at the embassy, who represented U.S. Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, said that those were just the latest in a series of grants the U.S. embassy had provided to preserve Ethiopia’s indigenous faith cultures, both Muslim and Chrisitan.
He added that the U.S. government believed it was especially important to work with faith communities around the world to preserve and protect monuments and artifacts of culture related to expressions of faith, tolerance and mutual understanding.
“Ethiopia’s long history of inter-faith tolerance and co-existence is especially notable in this context and we look forward to further efforts to preserve and protect the monuments and artifacts of Ethiopia’s indigenous expressions of religious faith,” he said.
According to the embassy, in 2008, it had provided a grant of approximately USD 10,000 to the Institute of Ethiopian Studies to purchase several Islamic manuscripts and small Christian icons that were in danger of leaving the country.
In 2006, the ambassador’s fund for cultural preservation also provided USD 35,000 for the preservation of the Sheik Hussien Shrine in the Bale Zone of Oromia State, a project that was completed late last year, the embassy added.
The signing of the agreement took place at the Teferi Mekonnen Palace in the Jegol area of Harar.