UNESCO Forum: Rebuilding the social, cultural and intellectual fabric of Haiti
Haitian intellectuals, artists and decision makers, together with international experts, social scientists and members of the vibrant Haitian Diaspora, will meet at UNESCO on 24 March (Room II, 9.30 am–6.30 pm) to develop ideas for rebuilding Haitian society.
The Forum “Rebuilding the social, cultural and intellectual fabric of Haiti” will be opened by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO; Davidson Hepburn, President of UNESCO’s General Conference; and Eleonora Mitrofanova, Chair of the Organization’s Executive Board. Its aim is to define Haiti’s medium- and long-term needs in the wake of the 12 January earthquake.
Participants will include Haiti’s Minister of Culture Marie-Laurence Jocelyn-Lassègue; Haitian author and playwright Frankétienne; Nobel literature laureate Wole Soyinka; filmmaker Raoul Peck; former Prime Minister of Togo and former Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Edem Kodjo; and the rector of Haiti’s Quisqueya University Jacky Lumarque.
The Forum takes place one week before an International Donors’ Conference at the United Nations in New York that will seek to mobilize international support for Haiti’s recovery and development needs. In this context, the UNESCO Forum’s purpose is to “cooperate with Haitian authorities to identify the reconstruction needs of Haiti’s educational system, hard hit by the earthquake, as well as to show UNESCO’s commitment to take culture into account in its response to the disaster,” said Ms Bokova.
Three themes will be explored during the forum: “After the earthquake: mobilizing knowledge and skills to rebuild Haiti”; “A unique history continued: the strength of Haiti’s cultural heritage, identity and creativity”; and “Rebuilding the education system: a critical condition for Haitian renewal and a source of intellectual vitality”.
The discussions will be followed by the world premiere of Melovivi ou le Piège, a play by Frankétienne (8.30 pm, Room I). Earlier the same day, Ms Bokova will designate the playwright as UNESCO Artist for Peace (ceremony 1 pm, Room II).