GCAM delegates with Cowrie Circle Member, Dr. Richard Leakey, Kenya, 2001 (NMK) Children's Programs at the National Art Museum, Maputo, 1999 (Jennifer Fredrickson) CAM Delegates on tour, "Global Vision, Local Mission", Liverpool, 2003 Funda Community College, Arts Centre, Soweto, South Africa, 1995 Museum of Natural History, Maputo, Mozambique, 1999 (Jennifer Fredrickson) Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool (National Museums Liverpool), 2003 GCAM delegates on tour, Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya, 2001
What is CAM?
History of CAM
Objectives & Bylaws
Patrons & CAM Honours
Executive Council
Membership Information
Membership Form
Site Map

Patrons & CAM Honours


CAM Patron His Excellency Nelson Mandela of South Africa Dies December 5, 2013

Former South African President Nelson Mandela, charismatic leader of the African National Congress and a remarkable symbol of the strength of lifelong commitment to political democracy and racial justice led his country as President along a difficult path of truth and reconciliation after centuries of inequality and decades of apartheid, at the same time as he stood as a figure representing peaceful negotiation on the international scene.

Mandela commented on "the conservation of all our legacies as a priority for nation building. Museums should reflect a message of tolerance and peace, of respect for all cultures and for the environment." Mandela expressed his belief to the 1998 CAM workshop in Nairobi on Children in African Museums: the Undiscovered Audience - the Road to Discovery, that "our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset. They are the leaders of tomorrow, the generation that will take human civilisation to new heights" inspiring African museums to establish the Group for Children in African Museums (GCAM) to engage children in their programs and activities.

CAM expresses our heartfelt condolences to the family of Nelson Mandela as well as the Government and people of South Africa for the loss of this great humanist, this great defender of peace and democracy. The passing of Nelson Mandela is a loss to Africa and to all people across the world. His unparalleled contributions to world peace, tolerance and understanding have served to excite and inspire the Association and its members to greater achievements in encouraging museums and heritage organizations to contribute more actively and successfully to a more humane and tolerant world.

Sir Shridath 'Sonny' Ramphal was the second and very highly regarded Secretary General of the Commonwealth. His diplomatic and inter-personal skills have since led to his involvement in global governance issues, economic and development issues, especially as they pertain to his native Caribbean and global environmental sustainability. He has been Chancellor of the University of Warwick (1989-2002) and the University of the West Indies until 2003. His exceptional experience growing up in a developing country and moving easily into the circles of power has made him an ideal 'citizen of the world', an individual who serves as role model in dealing both rationally and passionately with our contemporary dilemmas.

Mandela and Ramphal, two pre-eminent statesmen of the modern world, graciously honoured the Commonwealth Association of Museums by accepting CAM's invitation to become patrons of the Association in 1997.

Dr. Davidson Hepburn has been a friend of CAM’s for many years. A son of Cat Island, one of the most rural areas of The Bahamas, Dr Hepburn holds a BA from Florida A&M University, an MA from Michigan State University and a PhD in Comparative Languages and Literature from the University of Madrid, Spain as well as a Diploma in International Relations from the Institut des Hautes Études in Geneva, Switzerland. He served as Ambassador of The Bahamas to the United Nations from 1978-1988 and joined UNESCO in 1993, serving as President of the 35th UNESCO General Conference from 2009-2011. He was Chairman of the Board of the National Museum of The Bahamas, Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation of The Bahamas. Dr. Hepburn is the first Bahamian to be named Chevalier of the French Légion d’Honneur and in 2008 received the Order of the British Empire. He agreed to serve as CAM’s patron in 2013.

It is important for us to remember these patrons and their unparalleled contributions to world peace, tolerance and understanding. They continue to encourage us to set our goals and dreams high so that museums and heritage organizations in the Commonwealth can contribute to a more humane and tolerant world.

The Cowrie Circle

The CAM Cowrie Pin
Membership in the Cowrie Circle, CAM's highest honour, is given to pay tribute and to recognize eminent citizens who have contributed to the growth and development of museums in the Commonwealth. It is our stated expectation in doing so that CAM will have the continuing support, encouragement and leadership of our honorary members.

Criteria include substantial and lengthy contributions: to our Association, to leadership and commitment in building museums in one's own country, to active and productive involvement in regional or international museum communities, and to enhancing expertise and excellence of museums in the Commonwealth. While CAM membership is not a necessary requirement, it is a common factor in many cases along with interest and collaboration with CAM.

The following individuals are members of the Cowrie Circle along with our Patrons:


Members are awarded the Cowrie Circle Pin in person as circumstances permit.