Doctor Honoris Causa of ENS de Lyon - October 11, 2012
In his official biography, under the heading "nationality", Abdel Kader Haidara, a native of Timbuktu, mentions Malian, but his profession is rather unusual: Prospector of manuscripts. It is not every day that École normale supérieure de Lyon has the opportunity to host the work of a man on an "out of the ordinary journey", and especially outside the university curricula.
Abdel Kader Haidara’s life is inseparable from the Mamma Haidara Memorial Library, that he initiated and to which he dedicates all his time and energy. In Mali, the Haidara family is known for its intellectuals and judges. Abdel Kader’s father, Mamma Haidara, was not only a Qadi (judge), he also taught classical Islamic sciences such as law and Arabic grammar. His personal library was one of the largest and oldest in the city.
On the death of Sheikh Mamma Haidara in 1981, his son Abdel Kader ensured the succession of the management of the library and began a huge task: gathering the largest number of manuscripts to preserve them, to publish them and to allow the whole world to access these treasures of culture. Assisting other collection owners, Abdel Kader Haidara also actively participated in the setting up of other libraries.
It is for his tremendous contribution to the gathering and saving of these cultural treasures that the School is proud to award the insignia of Doctor Honoris causa from École normale supérieure de Lyon to Abdel Kader Haidara to praise and encourage him for his remarkable work. Our sincere thanks go to him.
Secretary for Cultural Affairs of the Association for the evolution of the University of Sankuru Timbuktu
Member of the World Digital Library, initiative of UNESCO and the Library of Congress
Executive Chairman of the NGO SAVAMA-DCI (safeguarding and valorization of manuscripts for the defense of Islamic culture)