SAWA Museum Academy - Goethe-Institut gulf region

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SAWA Museum Academy

Are you in the early stages of your museum career and looking for challenging insights into the field? Then this is your opportunity to work with fellow colleagues on developing new projects:

“Of all the international training courses I’ve attended, what makes SAWA unique is how its format facilitates open dialogue. Leaving SAWA, I feel I‘ve learned so much about the museum culture of Sharjah, Berlin and the wider Middle East. But also about myself and the type of museum practitioner and person I want to be.”
A participant of 2018

© Sharjah Museums Authority

What is SAWA?

SAWA (سوا = Arabic for together) is a joint initiative of the Sharjah Museums Authority, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region together with the University of Applied Sciences Berlin (HTW) aimed at students of museum studies and museum professionals in the early stage of their career from the MENA Region and Germany.

SAWA is devised as an introductory professional qualification program for those who want to learn about the diverse operational areas that museums cover. The programmatic name was chosen to represent the structure of the Academic program, which by design consistently enforces mutual learning in all museum areas.

The SAWA program is taught by Arab-German teaching-teams, which devise each module of the curriculum in collaboration, taking into account the different local museological practices in the MENA Region and Sharjah, Europe and Berlin.

SAWA views the Museum as an essential part of any society, as a living institution that has a responsibility to learn from its history in order to play an active part in shaping change for individuals, locally and globally.

SAWA aims to change not only museums but also foster societal change by addressing urgent issues such as social justice and climate change.

SAWA is dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming experience for its participants. We value and promote diversity, inclusivity, fairness and openness and reject any form of discrimination, harassment, and racism. SAWA includes an introduction into Critical Diversity Literacy to demonstrate its ethical values.

SAWA participants work together towards expanding the SAWA glossary of museum terms.

What we offer

Leading-edge, multidisciplinary thinking and experimental practice in museum and heritage studies, divided into 4 distinct phases:

kick-off online seminar
Phase I: Workshop in Sharjah
Phase II: online seminars and project work
Phase III: Workshop in Berlin
Phase IV: online Seminars and presentations
Wrap up - farewell meeting

for more detailed information and dates see program schedule

  • Innovative formats of learning and practical skills.
  • Theoretical and practical seminars at renowned museums in Berlin and Sharjah.
  • *Networking opportunities* amongst fellows and with international experts, who are linked to museums on the Arabian Peninsula and in Europe by their lives, research, or work.
  • A joint certificate issued by the Berlin State Museums, HTW Berlin and Sharjah Museum Authority.
  • Access to the growing alumni network of SAWA.
Cost coverage* for the onsite phases in Sharjah and Berlin
  • International and national transport
  • Accommodation with Breakfast and Lunch
  • Entrance fees (Phase I and III)
* Please note: Any other costs, such as transport costs between the place of residence and the departure/arrival airport, airport to hotel in Berlin and travel costs for visa application in the country of residence, as well as insurance have to be covered privately.

  • Sawa
  • Sawa AC

What we expect

  • Professional competencies and experiences
Experience of at least a year in a museum, heritage, or art sector.
  • Professional Qualification
BA in a museum / heritage / art related field.

Personal Skills
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Innovativeness
  • Open-mindedness
  • Ability to question established structures
  • Desire to hold a leading position and to act as a multiplier
Language skills
Adequate language proficiency in English (written and spoken) is essential in order to participate actively in the programme.

Commitment to the programme
A prerequisite for the selection of a candidate is her/his/their binding commitment to participate in all phases of SAWA. The quality of the programme depends on fellow’s participation in all events and continuous work on topics across all modules and intense exchange, both among themselves and with the speakers and lecturers. Employer must provide a letter of consent and approved leave for training purpose.

Application Procedure

The application must include the following documents:

  • The completed application form
  • A short CV (max 2 pages)
  • A letter of recommendation
The application (in English) should emphasise the candidate’s motivation as well as the personal and professional benefit sought after from a participation.

Please submit your application on the latest by November 3rd 2023 via

The PDF-document should be named ‘Last name_First name_country’ (e.g. Doe_Jane_Germany).

Please note: Completeness of the application will affect the applicant’s chances for participation.

After the review by the selection committee, the invited participants will be notified around the end of November 2023.

For further questions, please contact:
Gundula Avenarius
Aisha Deemas

Please note: The implementation of the programme SAWA 2023 is subject to the availability of the required funding.

Please also note: Due to current EU travel regulations, a full COVID-19 vaccination with an EU-accepted vaccine is necessary for travellers from certain non-EU states to enter the EU/Germany.

Travellers to the UAE are required to present a negative RT-PCR test certificate with a QR code. The test must be taken no more than 72 hours before departure. Travellers coming from some countries are required to take another PCR test on arrival.
We do not fund the costs for vaccination or testing.

You find current information under the following links:

Application Documents

Download the schedule

More Information:
Fareed Majari
Goethe-Institut Gulf Region


»SAWA helped me to break down barriers in my head that I didn’t even know were there. I felt that my ideas were welcome and respected. Other participants took them up and even developed them.«
A participant 2018 
»Of all the international training courses I’ve attended, what makes SAWA unique is how its format facilitates open dialogue.« 
A participant 2018
»Leaving SAWA, I feel I‘ve learned so much about the museum culture of Sharjah, Berlin and the wider Middle East. But also about myself and the type of museum practitioner and person I want to be.«
A participant 2018