12.07.2017 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

First intergenerational dialogue on Gorée Island

Thierno Bocar Dia, Gorée’s Imam ©UNESCO/Kadia Sow

In the framework of the “Emergency Measures for the Consolidation and Protection of Gorée Island: Fighting Coastal Erosion” project, the first intergenerational dialogue will be held on the island on Saturday, July 15, 2017 in the gardens of the Gorée Institute. The meeting will be devoted to issues related to the protection of the island over time. Conceived as an open meeting between Goreans, the forum will be an opportunity to give voice to elders and young people in order to gather experiences and feelings about the protection of their island.

In order to increase public awareness about the necessity to protect Gorée, UNESCO is organizing a series of four intergenerational dialogues as part of the communication activities of this project, which was implemented in September 2016 with the support of the Government of Japan. These dialogues are designed as exchange forums between people of all ages, leading to moments of expression but also of listening. They also provide the opportunity to share elements of intangible cultural heritage, from oral traditions to rehabilitation and conservation knowledge.

The theme of the first forum is "Protection of the island of Gorée: from beliefs and traditions to contemporary challenges." In a context where the island is constantly undermined by various factors such as climate change, coastal erosion, or the deterioration of buildings, it is important to draw attention to issues related to the protection of Gorée by speaking with the people best suited to discuss them—the inhabitants of the island, who have witnessed the changes and actions undertaken.

From the traditions of the Lebu people and beliefs in guardian spirits—like Maam Kumba Castel—to current challenges including traditional protection practices, the meeting will be an opportunity to exchange views around the notion of protection and its correlated issues. In this way, elder Goreans may pass on their knowledge, skills, and responsibility to protect the island to younger generations. This sharing of experiences is also a moment for highlighting good practices and inspiring new initiatives.

Free public speaking – both in Wolof and French – will be paramount in this very open dialogue. Indeed, forty Goreans of all ages and social backgrounds have been invited to participate in the event, eight of whom will be more specifically involved in sharing their experiences and initiating exchanges. Two moderators will facilitate the discussions, and encourage participants to express themselves.

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