31.03.2011 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

Event in São Paulo discusses education and General History of Africa

The capacity building of researchers, the production of pedagogical material and interdisciplinary knowledge concerning the African continent will be the main focus of the launch of the Portuguese edition of UNESCO General History of Africa Collection in Brazil.

On April 6th, at 9 a.m., African and Brazilian experts together with local and national authorities and students will convene in the Tucarena Auditorium, at PUC/SP, to discuss issues on the matter.

Issued by UNESCO, financed by the Ministry of Education and with the technical coordination of the Federal University of São Carlos, the Portuguese edition of the collection contributes to the dissemination of a new perspective on African history and culture in Brazilian society, as well as to the reshaping of ethnic and racial relations in the country. The Portuguese edition of the collection is part of a strategy for the implementation of the Law 10,639/2003, which establishes the teaching of African and African-Brazilian history and culture in the Brazilian education system.

Diagnoses made by UNESCO in Brazil, Ministry of Education and non-governmental organizations and their partners show that there is still an incipient implementation of that Law, particularly due to the lack of proper pedagogical material to foster the development of teachers. Moreover, there is a lack of information concerning the knowledge produced by the African continent and its influence worldwide – agricultural techniques, mathematics and metallurgy, for instance, have their origin in Africa.

In Brazil, the recognition of the importance of the African history intersection with the Brazilian one contributes to the building and assurance of the national identity.

Among the African pundits that will join the discussions, it is worth noting the remarkable presence of Jean-Michel Tali, Member of UNESCO Scientific Committee for the production of Pedagogical Material based on the African General History Collection and professor at the University of Michigan, and Elikia Mbokolo, historian and director of studies at School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris. Will also be present Ali Moussa Iye, Chief of the Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue of UNESCO, and Brazilian experts, such as Valdemir Zamparoni (Federal University of Bahia), and Valter Roberto Silvério (Federal University of São Carlos), technical coordinator of the Portuguese edition of the Collection.

Furthermore, renowned Brazilian researchers will also attend the discussions, such as Fúlvia Rosemberg, Social Psychology professor at PUC-SP; Alberto da Costa e Silva, historian, member of Brazilian Academy of Letters and former Brazilian ambassador at Nigeria and Benin; Joel Rufino dos Santos, historian and Human Sciences graduate professor at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; and Petronilha Gonçalves da Silva, professor at Federal University of São Carlos and responsible for drawing up the guidelines on the implementation of the Law 10,639/2003.

The event is organized by UNESCO Office in Brazil in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the Centre for Cultural and African Studies of the Diaspora of PUC/SP, the Centre for African Studies of the University of São Paulo and the Centre for Afro-Brazilian Studies of the Federal University of São Carlos.

About the Collection

UNESCO General History of Africa Collection, with almost 10.000 pages, was developed throughout 30 years by 350 researchers, which were coordinated by a scientific committee comprised by 39 experts, out of which two thirds were Africans.

The work tells the history of Africa from the perspective of the continent, making use of an interdisciplinary methodology that musters experts from areas such as History, Anthropology, Archeology, Linguistics, Botany, Physics, Journalism, among others. Its content provides new perspectives for studies and research on Africa and also for the dissemination of ethnic and racial relations in the Brazilian education system.

The eight volumes that comprise the collection range from Prehistory to the 1980s, passing through Ancient Egypt, several dynasties and civilizations, slave trade, European colonization and the independence of many countries. Africa is highlighted as the cradle of humankind and as of fundamental contribution to the culture and production of world scientific knowledge.


More information

Aline Falco, Ana Lúcia Guimarães e Isabel de Paula.
Communication Office - UNESCO in Brazil
Fones (61) 2106-3544/8142-3742, 2106-3536, 2106-3538
E-mails  aline.falco@unesco.org.br, ana.guimaraes@unesco.org.br, isabel.paula@unesco.org.br

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