Culture

© Seya Ndiaye, DPC
Preserving cultural heritage is one of UNESCO Dakar's main activities. Here traditional dancers from the Bassari region of Senegal.

The Culture Sector in UNESCO Dakar focus on various areas related to tangible and intangible heritage. 

Activities range from dialogue with artists and religious leaders to renovation and promotion of museums, as well as publication of comic strips on issues of relevance.

The promotion and preservation of cultural heritage

UNESCO Dakar works to increase the knowledge of cultural heritage in the sub-region.

A comic strip "Discover the cultural heritage of Senegal", for example, was published in 2011 to raise awareness among children and youth of the importance of protecting and preserving cultural heritage.

Another comic strip tells the history of Senegalese soldiers in the first World War (les tirailleurs francais). So far two episodes are available.

In Guinea-Bissau, UNESCO Dakar works closely with the Government to turn the house of Amilcar Cabral, a national liberator, into a museum. A call for Amilcar Cabral objects starts in 2012.

Conserving the intangible cultural heritage

The oral tradition of West Africa is well-known. UNESCO Dakar is looking at the challenge of preserving "Living Human Treasures", the custodians of oral tradition and knowledge that are slowly disappearing.

The Office is collecting stories in the four cluster countries for transcription and publication.

In Cape Verde, UNESCO Dakar supports efforts to safeguard Morna, the most popular genre of Cape Verdean music. This includes the collection of poems and a study of Morna artists.

Promoting intercultural and interfaith dialogue

UNESCO’s programme on interfaith dialogue aims to develop mutual knowledge about religions and other spiritual traditions.

UNESCO Dakar organized in 2009 a sub-regional seminar on inter-religious dialogue and spiritual traditions.

In 2011 a study on the cultural values ​​of Muslim brotherhoods in Senegal was launched to get a deeper understanding of these influential brotherhoods.

Facilitate reflections on cultural rights

Together with the Social and Human Sciences regional coordinator, the Cultural Sector supports the reflections on cultural rights in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and The Gambia.

Culture and development

UNESCO Dakar is responsible for coordinating the MDG-F project 'Promotion of Cultural Initiative and Industries in Senegal".

Funded by Spain, the project works in two regions within Senegal, the Delta du Saloum and the Bassari Country.

The aim is to support the implementation of national policies aimed at promoting culture as an engine of sustainable human development.

One major achievement is the inclusion of Delta du Saloum and the Bassari Country on UNESCO's World Heritage list.

Remembering slave trade and slavery

Slave trade has marked West Africa enormously. The commemoration of the August 23 International Day of Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is organized annually. Celebrations are organized in the four cluster offices. In Senegal the commemoration often takes place on Gorée Island, just off the Senegalese capital of Dakar, which for many slaves was the last stop before crossing the Atlantic.

UNESCO Dakar also supports the Festival Cacheu in Guinea-Bissau on the slave trade and slavery. In 2011 the Office organized an international symposium during the festival.

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