23.08.2012 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

Palmares and UNESCO celebrate the results of the international seminar on the memory of slavery

Important advances in reflections and discussions of topics such as tourism of memory, cultural tourism and sustainable development, memory, identity, national and international reconciliation and the role of community museums were the balance of the four-day international seminar entitled “Heritage, identity and culture: management of sites and places of memory related to the slave trade and slavery”, which ended on Thursday, 23 August, in Brasília, Brazil.

The inscription of Cais do Valongo (Valongo wharf), an important archaeological dig in the centre of Rio de Janeiro, in the World Heritage List of UNESCO was another prominent theme of the seminar, which brought together experts and authorities on black culture and history from Brazil and several countries,  most Africans. The seminar was an initiative of UNESCO and the Palmares Fundação Cultural.

After four days of technical meetings and discussions, the participants were satisfied with the results and partnerships accomplished. Ali Moussa- Iye, Chief of the Intercultural Dialogue Section of UNESCO and in charge of the Slave Route Project, which inspired the seminar, said the results should be celebrated. "The success is unquestionable. The event featured many skilled representatives and, all of them, showed enthusiasm and engagement throughout the discussions and in the search for tangible results ", said Moussa.

According to Moussa, there are at least three major accomplishments: a rich and productive exchange of experiences, that happened in a friendly atmosphere among the participants, the commitment to the development of a methodological guide and training modules for the management of historic sites related to slavery and to the slave trade and the creation of an international network of managers of historic sites related to black culture.

The group of participants agreed to meet again in two years, at a place yet to be determined, to assess the implementation of these results. Moussa noted that the seminar comes at a strategic moment, just before the declaration of United Nation’s International Decade for People of African Descent (2013 - 2023), which should happen later this year. "The seminar was a great preparation for the Decade and for the discussions to come", he said. "The discussion does not end. A website will be launched to keep the exchange of ideas and experiences as part of a plan of action agreed", added Moussa.

UNESCO also took the opportunity to resume discussion on the publication of the ninth volume of the collection General History of Africa, one of the most important works on the history of the continent. The awaited volume should address the new challenges of Africa and the African Diaspora.

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