U.S. Sponsored Preservation Project to Save Old Fourah Bay College in Freetown, Sierra Leone Commences
February 17, 2022, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Hon. Dr. Memunatu Pratt and World Monuments Fund (WMF) announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a preservation project to save Old Fourah Bay College in the Cline Town district of Freetown, Sierra Leone, funded by the U.S. Embassy in Freetown
Old Fourah Bay College was the first western-style university in sub-Saharan Africa and is a living testament to idealism and the power of education. Established in 1827, it produced the earliest leaders in West Africa including many leaders of the independence movements that helped end colonialism. It is immensely important in the history of Sierra Leone and the region and is a protected national monument.
World Monuments Fund is the implementing partner for a United States Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) grant, awarded in 2021, to preserve Old Fourah Bay College. This grant will cover the first phase of what will likely be a multi-phase project. The scope of this first grant is to prepare a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the structure, carry out limited emergency stabilization to prevent further damage, and develop a plan for reuse of the structure in consultation with the community and key stakeholders.
“This project, funded by the United States Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, demonstrates American values in action and United States leadership in preserving cultural heritage sites like Old Fourah Bay College. It is my hope that preserving this site ensures that the next generation of Sierra Leonean leaders can continue to draw inspiration from the triumphs of education, culture, and science of the past,” said U.S. Ambassador David Reimer, who attended the ceremony.
“The project at Old Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone, supported by the United States Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, reflects our shared commitment to working with local communities to protect their heritage for future generations, and preserving structures that can help tell a more textured and complete story of human experience,” said Bénédicte de Montlaur, President and CEO of World Monuments Fund.
About World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund (WMF) is the leading independent organization devoted to safeguarding the world’s most treasured places to enrich people’s lives and build mutual understanding across cultures and communities. The organization is headquartered in New York City with offices and affiliates in Cambodia, India, Peru, Portugal, Spain and the UK. Since 1965, our global team of experts has preserved the world’s diverse cultural heritage using the highest international standards at more than 700 sites in 112 countries. Partnering with local communities, funders, and governments, WMF draws on heritage to address some of today’s most pressing challenges: climate change, underrepresentation, imbalanced tourism, and post-crisis recovery. With a commitment to the people who bring places to life, WMF embraces the potential of the past to create a more resilient and inclusive society. wmf.org
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