The Inaugural Conference of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Museum Alliance (SCOMA) was held at the National Museum of China (NMC) on October 20, 2021, announcing the formal establishment of the first alliance of professional institutions in the cultural sector of the SCO. The SCOMA is founded to implement Chinese President Xi Jinping's important remarks to build an SCO community of cultural exchanges, as well as to fulfill the initiatives proposed by Premier Li Keqiang at the 19th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Mr. Hu Heping, Minister of Culture and Tourism of China, noted that cooperation in culture and tourism played an important role in facilitating mutual learning and people-to-people exchanges. These interactions vividly depict the thriving development of the SCO and the win-win cooperation among the SCO member states. Under the framework of the first SCO Year of Culture to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the SCO, the timing establishment of the SCOMA in 2021 marks the culture and tourism cooperation mechanism of the SCO and multilateral exchanges stepping into a new stage. Upholding the Shanghai Spirit, China is willing to work with all parties to continue to tighten the common bond of people-to-people cultural exchanges, and make new and greater contributions to benefit the people of the SCO member states to build a SCO community with a shared future.

Dr. Vladimir Norov, SCO Secretary-General, stated in his video message that China's initiative on establishing SCOMA attracted wide attention. SCO member states are closely connected with each other through shared history, cultural heritages and traditions, as well as similar languages and cultures. Museums play a unique role in promoting cultural cooperation and dialogues between civilizations. He finished his speech by wishing the SCOMA with fruitful results in future development.

Dr. Wang Chunfa, Director of the NMC, as the founder of the SCOMA and the representative of the host of the inaugural conference, delivered the keynote speech. Dr. Wang emphasized that the SCO member states boast splendid civilization, rich culture and time-honored history of friendly relationship, thus having huge potential and a promising future in cultural cooperation. Members of the SCOMA are representative museums in the SCO member states responsible for collection, presentation, preservation and promotion of their respective outstanding cultures and cultural heritages, thus playing irreplaceable roles in facilitating regional cultural exchanges. By leading the establishment of the SCOMA, The NMC takes the lead in establishing the Alliance, hoping to blaze new trails in exchanges and cooperation among museums, build a new bridge for co-development of museums and set up a new platform for the integration and sharing of cultural heritage resources to benefit the people with cultures and cultural relics. These actions will facilitate wider communication of the excellent cultures of the SCO and promote common development and prosperity among the SCO member states.

Luo Jing, Director of the Department of Museums and Private Collections (Department of Science and Technology), National Cultural Heritage Administration, addressed the audience on the cooperation between Chinese museums and museums of other SCO member states. He noted that the NCHA would give strong support to the diverse and sustainable development of the SCOMA.

The directors of the national museums from all other SCO member states attended the conference. The participants shared their insights on the cooperation among museums of the SCO member states and their expectations for the SCOMA. All of them expressed the support and praise for the founding of the SCOMA and expected the Alliance to enhance pragmatic cooperation, mutual learning, understanding and friendship among the SCO member states, and to present the splendid cultures of the SCO member states to the world.

Towards the end of the conference, Dr. Wang proposed three initiatives on the orientations of cooperation and development of the SCOMA. The first is to facilitate exchanges and cooperation on exhibitions and to identify specific areas for cooperation. The second is to drive academic exchanges and to improve cooperation to a new level. The third is to push forward the adoption of new technologies and expand the channels of cooperation.

A group of guests attended the conference upon invitation including Xie Jinying, Director of the Bureau of International Exchange and Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, Zhang Hongjian, Counsellor in the Department of European-Central Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Akkoshkarov Nurlan, Minister-Counsellor and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the SCO Secretariat, Muhammad Rumman Ahmad, Counsellor and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the SCO Secretariat, and Maksut Abdykadyrov, Third Secretary of the Embassy of Kyrgyz Republic in China. The inaugural conference was presided over by Dr. Ding Pengbo, Deputy Director of the NMC.