Events on General History of Africa: Salvador

1. The Portuguese edition of UNESCO General History of Africa Collection is handed on in Salvador
UNESCO Director in Brazil, Vincent Defourny, and the coordinator of diversity-affairs of the Secretariat of Continuous Education, Literacy and Diversity of the Ministry of Education (MoE), Antônio Mário Ferreira, handed the General History of Africa Collection to the minister of the Secretariat to Promote Policies of Racial Equality,  Luiza Bairros, and to the governor of Bahia, Jacques Wagner.

The ceremony of presentation of  GHA Collection in Salvador took place on April 4, with an event organized by UNESCO in partnership with MoE, the Pedro Calmon Foundation of the Secretariat of Culture of Bahia, and the Center for African-Oriental Studies of the Federal University of Bahia. Along the entire day, students, researchers and representatives of social movements had the opportunity to listen to national and international guest speakers and to debate the issues related to re-signifying the History of Africa, to inter-cultural questions and to religious intolerance. 

2. International experts take part in the presentation of the Portuguese edition of UNESCO General History of Africa Collection
The president of the Association of African Historians, Doulaye Konate, the chief of UNESCO’s Division of Intercultural Dialogue, Ali Moussa Iyê, and the Congolese scholar Jean Michel Tali, expert in African History and professor at Howard University in Michigan, United States, took part as debaters in the events at the launching of the GHA collection in Bahia and São Paulo.

Konate spoke to the public of students, teachers, scholars and social movements who attended the events, on the importance of the African historiography and on the change of paradigms ensued by the collection. Moussa Iyê approached the question of cultural diversity and the possibilities of use of the collection from this perspective, through the production of pedagogical materials on and for African countries by the International Scientific Committee organized by UNESCO. On his turn, Jean Michel spoke to the public on religious syncretism and highlighted the relevance of the diaspora in the African history.

3. The Portuguese edition of the General History of Africa Collection is handed to the Ilê Ayê group
At the launching of the General History of Africa Collection in Bahia, the UNESCO Brasília Office and the Ministry of Education paid a tribute to the social movements with a strong African-descendant tradition in the state and in the country. On April 1st, a visit was made to the cultural group Ilê Ayê, which since 1974 has worked to appreciate the value and include the African-descendant population through culture, and which has almost always used historical issues.

During the visit to Ilê Ayê, the collection was handed to the president of the organization, Antônio Carlos dos Santos, nicknamed “Vovô” (“Grandpa”). On the photo, along with him, are Marilza Regattieri, coordinator of the program of Education for the Ethnic-Racial Relations of the UNESCO Brasília Office, and Valter Silvério, technical coordinator of the Portuguese edition of the GHA Collection and coordinator of the Group of African-Brazilian Studies of the Federal University of São Carlos. 

4. Olodum Group celebrates the Portuguese edition of the General History of Africa
At the launching of the General History of Africa Collection in Bahia, the first to receive the publication were the social movements with a strong African-descendant tradition in the state and in the country, among them Olodum, on April 1st, 2011. Olodum is a cultural group that develops, through culture and education, works aimed at the children and adolescents with a focus on the appreciation of the African culture and of the black population in Brazil.

To celebrate this historical moment, the group of students of the Olodum School made a music presentation on the streets of Pelourinho. The presentation was watched by the international experts invited by UNESCO, by the members of the Brasilia office and by the local population. In the photo, the UNESCO Director in Brazil, Vincent Defourny, speaks about UNESCO’s General History of Africa Collection and the importance of that moment, along with the coordinator of diversity of the SECAD of the Ministry of Education, Antônio Mário Ferreira, and with the president of Olodum, João Jorge.

5. A round table is a highlight of the presentation of the Portuguese edition of the General History of Africa Collection in the region of Recôncavo Baiano
The activities around the launching of the General History of Africa Collection in Bahia included a round table at the Federal University of Recôncavo da Bahia (UFRB), in the city of Cachoeira. The place was chosen for its representativeness in terms of presence of the African culture in Brazil: it is the cradle of Samba de Roda, an intangible heritage of mankind.

The debate was on re-signifying the African history. The round table counted with the presence of Congolese historian Elikia Mbokolo, director of the School of Higher Studies on Social Sciences (l’École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) – University of Paris III, and of the president of the Scientific Committee responsible for producing pedagogical materials for the use of the GHA-Collection.

With important works on the history of Africa and publications translated into Portuguese, his presence was partially responsible for attracting over 200 viewers to the auditorium of the university. In the photo, the technical coordinator of the Portuguese edition of the General History of Africa Collection, Valter Silvério, appears along with Elikia Mbokolo, Juvenal Carvalho – member of UFRB’s Nucleus of African-Brazilian Studies, and Valdemir Zamparoni, professor of the Multidisciplinary Postgraduate Program on Ethnic Studies of the Center of African-Oriental Studies of the Federal University of Bahia.

6. Religious traditions of African origin were part of the activities around the launching of the Portuguese edition of the General History of Africa Collection
On April 2nd, the international experts invited by UNESCO to speak on themes in connection with the General History of Africa in Bahia, along with the UNESCO Representative in Brazil, Vincent Defourny, visited the Candomblé-yard Seja Hundê, known as Roça do Ventura (“Ventura’s Backcountry”) – one of the oldest spaces of preservation of the Jejê-Mahin religion in Brazil.

In more than three hours of conversation, there was a good opportunity to know a little more about religious syncretism and preservation of African religious traditions, as well as about the fight of the religious communities with an African origin to preserve their cultural identity and dignity. The topics discussed by the specialists with the members of the Candomblé-yard included the respect for African traditions, the difficulties and obstructions of achieving it in Brazil and the similarities between religiosity as practiced at the Candomblé-yard and the religions of different locations in Africa.

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Events on General History of Africa: SP and BH

São Paulo (SP):

1. A crowded Tucarena Auditorium at PUC for the launching of the Portuguese edition of the General History of Africa Collection
Theater Tucarena at PUC-SP was crowded with 350 scholars, professors, students and representatives of social movements, who took part in the debates that marked the launching of the GHA Collection in the state.
During the entire Wednesday, April 6, the debates took place with experts on issues related to the production of historical knowledge, to the academic training of professionals for developing the theme of Education for Ethnic-Racial Relations, to black identity, and to the genesis of UNESCO’s General History of Africa.

2. Fernando Mourão, the only Brazilian researcher who took part in the Scientific Committee of UNESCO’s General History of Africa Collection spoke at the launching of the Portuguese version of the work
The Brazilian researcher Fernando de Albuquerque Mourão (left in the photo) was one of the guest speakers invited by UNESCO to take part in the debates of the launching of the General History of Africa Collection in São Paulo. In the 1970s, Mourão – a PhD in Sociology – took part in the Scientific Committee that drafted UNESCO’s General History of Africa.
Over 350 students, scholars, teachers and activists went to the event in the Tucarena Theater at PUC-SP on April 6, 2011, and watched him describe the process of producing the research that resulted in the work, which has almost ten thousand pages. He also spoke about the main difficulties and treasures that were found about the African continent. At his side, on the photo, is the president of the Association of African Historians, Doulaye Konate.

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Belo Horizonte (BH):

1. Members of the Symphony Orchestra opened the launching of the Portuguese edition of the General History of Africa Collection
A group of musicians of the Symphony Orchestra of the State University of Minas Gerais played for over 250 participants at the launching of the Portuguese edition of the General History of Africa Collection in Belo Horizonte. The event took place on April 13 at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, and gathered experts from all parts of the country.

The debates lasted for the entire day focused on themes linked to the areas of history of Africa and education, including the educational paths for ethnic-racial relations and the potentials of the publication of the Portuguese edition of General History of Africa.

On the previous day, April 12, there was an exhibition and a debate on the documentary film “Terra Deu, Terra Come” (“The Earth Gave, the Earth Eats”), of director Rodrigo Siqueira, which approaches important themes for the African-Brazilian culture.

2. The General History of Africa Collection is handed to UFMG and UEMG
The UNESCO Representative in Brazil, Vincent Defourny, and the coordinator of diversity of SECAD at the Ministry of Education, Antônio Mário Ferreira, officially handed the Portuguese edition of the General History of Africa Collection to Clélio Campolina, President of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, and Dijon Moraes Júnior, President of the State University of Minas Gerais (on the photo, from left to right).

The collection was handed during an event that took place on April 13 to launch the collection in the capital of Minas Gerais. Among the participants of the event, the State Secretary of Education Ana Lúcia Gazzola, and the director of affirmative-action programs at SEPPIR, Luiz Cláudio Barcelos. 

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