Celebration of anniversaries in 2010

Armenia
800th anniversary of the birth of Toros Roslin, manuscript illuminator (1210-1270) (2010)

Toros Roslin (c. 1210-1270) is a prominent Armenian scribe and miniature painter of the Middle Ages and is the most famous representative
of the Cilician school. With the appearance of Toros Roslin, the art of
Armenian book illustration and especially 13th century Cilician miniature painting was characterized by a new aesthetical comprehension of the world and new ideas. In his miniature paintings Toros Roslin concentrated on the artistic experiences of the past, both of his own and of other peoples; he opened new horizons and opportunities for future painters. The most significant innovation in Roslin’s art is the individualization of human faces. In medieval art the distinct, differing from each other and non-idealized portrayal of the human face begins in the second half of the 13th century. In this sense, Roslin must be considered among the most progressive artists of that period. In addition, he revived the genre of royal portraits, the first Cilician royal portraits having been found in his manuscripts. His style is characterized by a delicacy of color, classical treatment of figures and their garments, an elegance of line, and an innovative iconography. He drew up and illuminated numerous manuscripts, but currently we have information about only seven: they were realized between 1256 and 1268 and are kept at depositories in Yerevan, Jerusalem and Baltimore (USA). Toros Roslin has become the very
first Armenian universal artist, as he preserved the Armenian ethnic art identity by observing and following Armenian iconographic and ornamental-decorative tradition used previously by Armenian predecessors, being at the same time “Byzantinian” in concept and technique, a “Renaissance artist” and a precursor of Giotto and Duccio in his painting equilibrium, balance, harmony, rich colors, multi-level and multi-dimension compositions. More precisely, he was the originator and founder of the First Universal Christian Religious Art and is called, “virtuoso of ornamentation” by specialists.
Photo legend: Epistle of Eusebius to Carpianos. Gospel. Scribe and painter Toros Roslin, Ms. 10450, 13th century.


1600th anniversary of the birth of Movses Khorenatsi, historian (c. 410-493) (2010)

Movses Khorenatsi (c. 410-493), called the Father of the Armenian historiography, is the greatest Armenian historian of the Middle Ages. Poet, translator, philosopher and theologian Movses Khorenatsi's works hold particular significance because they record the old oral traditions of the Armenian people during its pagan era and, more importantly, traces Armenian history from Khorenatsis' days to its origins.
The masterpiece of Khorenatsi is the “History of Armenia”, which covers a time-frame from the formation of the Armenian people, i.e. from the 10th century B.C., to the fifth century AD. It contains the richest and most unique material on ancient Armenian legends, the pagan religion, the internal and economic life of the country, its social and state structure, juridical system, and its relations with the world. It also contains plentiful data on the history and culture of neighboring people, their interrelation, in particular, about Persia, the Byzantium, Assyria, Georgia, Albania and others, thus being an indispensable source for the study of their historical past. The first time in the Armenian historiography, Khorenatsi introduced the idea of timeline.
In the 2nd and 3rd books of the “History of Armenia”, along with the dates of the reign of the Armenian kings and Catholicoses, he mentions the reigning years of the rulers of the neighbouring Persia and Rome. First edition of the “History of Armenia” was published in Amsterdam, 1695; the second in London, with a Latin translation, 1736; the third in Venice, 1752; it was translated into French (Venice, 1841), Italian (1841, 1950), German (partially, 1869), English (1979), Russian (1809, 1858) and other languages. Having worked for more than six years in the famous Library of Alexandria, Movses Khorenatsi got acquainted with the works of antic authors and used works of Greek and Syrian authors, quoting from them. Some of them are world-known only thanks to the works of Khorenatsi. Most of the works of Movses Khorenatsi that are known to us, such as 1) History of Armenia; 2) Treatise on Geography; 3) Letter on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; 4) Homily on Christ’s Transfiguration; 5) Oration on Hripsime, an Armenian Virgin and Martyr; 6) Hymns used in Armenian Church Worship; 7) Commentaries on the Armenian Grammarians; 8) Explanations of Armenian Church offices; 9) Geography (“Ashkharhatsyuts”) - description of the World with maps; 10) Treatise on Rhetoric hold particular significance because he elaborated not only on the Armenian history, culture and traditions, but also of the people at the regional and universal level.
Photo legend: Movses Khorenatsi and the Prince Sahak Bagratuni.
History of Armenia, Ms. 2865, 13th century.


Belarus
200th anniversary of the birth of Ivan Khrutsky, painter (1810-1885) (2010)

In the first half of the nineteenth century, Ivan Khrutsky was the best master of still-life painting style. He developed his own type of still life by introducing it into portraits.
For his outstanding talent, Saint Petersburg Academy awarded him the title of Academician in 1839. The following year he settled in the family estate in the Polotsk region. This period was one of commissioned religious art, mostly from Lithuania. Besides religious paintings, he also worked on portraits of renowned personalities.
Photo legend: Portrait of unknown


Bulgaria
200th anniversary of the birth of Zachary Zograph, representative of Bulgarian Renaissance art (1810–1853) (2010)

Zachary Hristovich Dimitrov (1810-1853), better known as Zahari Zograf (or Zahariy Zograf) is the most famous Bulgarian painter of the Bulgarian National Revival, noted for his church mural paintings and icons and often regarded as the founder of secular art in Bulgaria. He was proclaimed a master at the age of 21 in 1831. Painter of icons and frescos, he has decorated a number of churches and monasteries which are widely admired. Zachary Zograf lived and worked on Mount Athos between 1851 and 1852, where he decorated the outer narthex of the Great Lavra.
Photo legend: Self-portrait


Côte d'Ivoire
50th anniversary of the beginning of the intellectual career of Professor Harris Memel-Fotê (1930-2008) (2010)

Professor Memel-Fotê, a citizen of Côte d’Ivoire, anthropologist and eminent African intellectual (1930-2008) made a major contribution to the development of the social sciences. At the Institute of Ethno-Sociology of Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) he contributed to the development of the discipline and to bringing together sociology, anthropology, ethnology and history. He also brought about fundamental changes in approaches to the problem of slavery by going further than a purely economic perspective and looking to its political and ideological dimensions and emphasizing the interaction between social processes within Africa (domestic slavery) and outside the continent (the slave trade). In this way his work sheds light on the dialogue of civilizations built on violence, resistance and cultural, scientific and technological fusion. Professor Memel-Fotê, a pan-Africanist, was one of the African intellectuals who fought colonization and actively contributed to the formation of young people in Africa and to African thinking on freedom, dignity and independence.
He was a founding member of numerous institutions and research groups in the social sciences in Africa, President of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) from 1979-1982, and he also occupied academic posts as a lecturer and researcher at the Ecole de Hautes études en sciences sociales, where he was associate director of studies, and the Collège de France, where he held an international Chair. He contributed to the foundation of the Academy of Sciences of Africa and the African Diaspora (ASCAD).


Croatia
100th anniversary of the discovery of the Mohorovicic Discontinuity by Andrija Mohorovicic (1910) (2010)

Andrija Mohorovičić was a notable meteorologist and seismologist. In 1909 an earthquake struck the Kupa Valley with an epicentre about 40 kilometres south-east of Zagreb. Mohorovičić carefully measured the seismic waves created by the earthquake at the Zagreb observatory. By analysing data received from more observation posts, Mohorovičić concluded that the Earth consists of surface layers above an internal core. He was the first scientist to establish, based on the evidence of seismic wave behaviour, the discontinuity that separates the crust of the planet Earth from the mantle.

450th anniversary of the birth of Marko Antun de Dominis, philosopher and scientist (1560-1624) (2010)

Dominis was a member of the colleges of Venice. A trace of that time can be found in his celebrated works of physics: De radiis visus et lucis in vitris perspectivis et iride. This work is in fact a compilation of his lectures in physics in 1591 and 1592, thus 20 years before Galileo’s demonstration of the telescope. The book was published in Venice in 1611. Here Dominis explained the origin of the rainbow, the work of telescopes, the basic functioning of the eye and so on. In a second work: Euripus seu de fluxu et refluxu maris, he interpreted the ebb and flow of the tide as a result of the work of the sun and moon upon the earth with a force similar to magnetism. This was confirmed almost a century later by Newton when he explained gravitation.

Cuba

100th anniversary of the birth of José Lezama Lima, writer (1910-1976) (2010)

José Lezama Lima (1910-1976), a Cuban poet and writer, is considered to be one of the most original writers of twentieth-century Latin American literature.
He founded various avant-garde magazines, including Orígenes (1944), a focus for the generation of the same name, one of the most relevant in Cuban literature. As well as being a hermetic and baroque poet (Death of Narcissus; Rumour, The Enemy; Dador), he was also the author of many critical essays. His best known work, Paradiso, received international critical acclaim. It is both a colourful saga of a Havana family and a literary and poetic adventure in which the cultures of the Old and New Worlds meet.


Czech Republic
100th anniversary of the birth of Karel Zeman, film-maker (1910-1989) (2010)

Karel Zeman (1910-1989), a Czech cartoon producer and film-maker, is one of the founders of the renowned Czech animated-film school. He began in advertising, in which he experimented with puppets for the first time. His first short film, Christmas Dream, won the award for the best puppetry animated film at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival (France). Later, in his “Fairy Tales for Old and Young” series (A Deadly Invention, Journey to the Prehistory), he created an original world that was to enchant cinema-goers worldwide. By combining puppets, special effects, animation and live actors, he produced a clever synthesis of fantasy and reality and made these films wholly mysterious. His adaptations of Jules Verne’s novels gave him further scope for exploring how to adapt the fantastic for the big screen.

Ecuador
100th anniversary of the birth of Monseñor Leonidas Proaño (1910-1988) (2010)

Monsignor Proaño devoted his life to human rights and the fight against poverty and illiteracy, focusing his actions on Indians. He was particularly active in the Foundation of Indian People of Ecuador. In 1960 he was delegated from Ecuador to the Latin America Episcopal Council (CELAM). He also created the Itinerant Pastoral from the Latin America Institute.
He participated in the Council of Theology of Liberation which considered poverty as a social matter and an obligation of the Church to protect the poor. As an example, he decided to use the fund of the Church to divide the properties of the Chimborazo Province and give them to the Indians for free, instead of constructing a new church.
Through his work and efforts during his life, Monsignor Proaño left a significant mark in Ecuador and the whole of Latin America.


France

1100th anniversary of the foundation of the Abbey of Cluny (910) (2010)

The Abbey of Cluny was founded in 910 by William the Pious, Duke of Aquitaine. Cluny symbolized the monastic revival in the Western world and was a leading intellectual centre in the High Middle Ages. By the end of the eleventh century, the Abbey of Cluny was an influential force throughout Christian Europe with a network – the first of its kind – of approximately 1,400 houses and some 10,000 monks. In 1088, work began on the Maior Ecclesia, the largest Romanesque abbey church ever built, with arches 30 metres high. During the French Revolution, the monks were expelled and dispersed throughout the surrounding parishes; the buildings were seized as national property and sold off. The remains of the Abbey bear witness to the architectural and spiritual magnificence of this masterpiece of the Romanesque, a unique part of French heritage. The Abbey of Cluny was recently awarded the European heritage label by the European Commission. The label is intended to highlight the European dimension of cultural properties, monuments, natural and urban sites and places of memory betokening European history and heritage. It aims to strengthen a sense of belonging to a common cultural area in the spirit of the 1972 Convention; it thus complements UNESCO’s work in the field of protection and safeguarding of cultural heritage to ensure, among other things, that conservation of sites and monuments is conducive to social cohesion.


Georgia
100th anniversary of the birth of Vakhtang Chabukiani, ballet dancer, choreographer and teacher (1910-1992) (2010)

Vakhtang Chabukiani – an outstanding ballet dancer, choreographer and ballet teacher of XX century, was granted outstanding gifts and physic. He possessed rich palette of expressive means. His Classical manner of dancing, virtuous technique and vigorousness created absolutely new male dancing style in the classical ballet.
Chabukiani was the partner to the world’s famous ballet dancers: Natalia Dudinskaya, Tatiana Vecheslova, Galina Ulanova and Maya Plesetkaya. In 1934 he toured the United States of America with Tatiana Vecheslova.
V. Chabukiani started his choreographic career when he was 16. Later, he established Georgian ballet troupe and managed it for 30 years. He taught extensively in Georgia and abroad and raised new generation of ballet dancers. In 2007, the ballet “Laurensia”steged by Vakhtang Chabukiani, was restored and included in the repertoire of Georgian ballet troupe.
Photo legend: Laurencia – Vera Tsignadze, Frondoso – Vakhtang Chabukiani.


1000th anniversary of the beginning of the construction of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (2010)

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia, is an outstanding example of medieval architecture in the Near East region. The current cathedral was built in the eleventh century by the Georgian architect Arsukisdze, though the site itself is even older dating back to IV-V centuries. The site is related to a number of legends that reflects the early Christian traditions and the adoption of Christianity by Georgia (I-IV cc). It is also considered as the symbol of Georgian centuries-old history. Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is the one of the largest historic church buildings preserved in the country. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site along with other historical monuments of Mtskheta.


Germany
550th anniversary of the birth of Tilman Riemenschneider, sculptor (c.1460-1531) (2010)

Tilman Riemenschneider (1460-1531), German sculptor, was one of the last generations of Gothic sculptors in Southern Germany, who worked largely in Würzburg (Bavaria). Riemenschneider and his workshop produced a large number of altarpieces in wood, but also made tombs and statues, and sometimes worked in alabaster and limestone.
Striking a rare balance between formal elegance and expressive strength, he stands solidly anchored in the late Gothic tradition while also reflecting emerging humanist concerns. He was one of the first sculptors to abandon polychromy on occasion. Towards the end of his life, the prosperous and successful Riemenschneider suffered a dramatic reversal of fortune. His sympathies for the rebellious peasants in the region in 1524 cost him dearly. Tilman Riemenschneider’s outstanding work was rediscovered on the eve of the nineteenth century.


150th anniversary of the death of Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher (1788-1860) (2010)

Arthur Schopenhauer is known for his atheistic pessimism and philosophical clarity. His most influential work, The World as Will and Representation, emphasized the role of man’s basic motivation, which Schopenhauer called “will”. His metaphysical analysis of “will”, his views on human motivation and desire, and his aphoristic writing style influenced many well-known philosophers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Sigmund Freud.


200th anniversary of the birth of Robert Schumann, music composer (1810-1856) (2010)

Robert Schumann (1810-1856), German composer, aesthete and music critic, was one of the most famous Romantic composers of the 19th century. During his brief career, he worked as a piano professor at the Leipzig Conservatory under Mendelssohn and also later as a conductor. Starting much later than some other composers, he completed four symphonies, a well-known piano concerto, some chamber works, songs and song cycles and a wealth of shorter works for piano. Schumann had a great interest in literature, philosophy and the arts. He was also accomplished in journalistic circles as a music critic, and in that capacity he recognized and promoted the talents of Chopin, Brahms and Berlioz. In 1840, Schumann married his teacher’s daughter, pianist Clara Wieck, who also composed music and had a considerable concert career, including premieres of many of her husband’s works.


Grenada
300th anniversary of the foundation of the Town of Saint George’s (1710) (2010)

The construction of the Historical District of Saint George’s was ended with the addition of several administrative buildings in 1710. The town was laid out on a grid system with a central square and developed predominantly over the course of the eighteenth century. The original urban plan has remained intact since then and a large body of Georgian architecture adjusted to Caribbean circumstances has been preserved. From the natural harbour of Saint George’s and the contour lines of the surrounding hills, an unplanned area has expanded and developed from the early nineteenth century onwards. The significance of the architecture of Saint George’s is that it represents the finest collection, in the Caribbean, of two storey red and yellow exposed brick, and masonry structures with stucco and topped with steep-pitched hip roof covering the entire structure, typical of the 17th and early 18th century “Caribbean Creole” architecture. The urban pattern and architectural styles of the Saint George’s Historic District add up to present a blend of cultural features of outstanding universal value. The Historic District of the town of Saint George’s is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List.
Photo legend: © Nigel Mathlin


India
100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa (1910-1997) (India, with the support of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) (2010)

Mother Teresa, the renowned Roman Catholic nun and missionary, was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910. In 1928 she went to India, where she devoted herself to helping the destitute. In 1948 she became an Indian citizen and founded the order of Missionaries of Charity in Kolkota (Calcutta) in 1950, which became noted for its work among the poor and the dying in that city. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first in India and then in other countries, including hospices and homes for the poorest and homeless. Mother Teresa’s work has been recognized and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1980 for her humanitarian work, the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971), the Nehru Prize for her promotion of international peace and understanding (1972) and the Balzan Prize (1979). Following her death she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. She had always stated, “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world”. Her tomb in the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity quickly became a place of pilgrimage and prayer for people of all faiths, rich and poor alike. Mother Teresa left a testament of unshakeable faith, invincible hope and extraordinary charity as a “mother of the poor”. She became a living symbol of compassion to the world, and a living witness to the thirsting love of God.
Mother Teresa’s message is fully in accordance with the UNESCO Constitution, and this celebration in 2010 will be a good opportunity to explain to young generations her message of compassion, tolerance, mutual respect, solidarity and peace. The commemoration of this anniversary would help to further disseminate globally Mother Teresa’s universal message.


Iran, Islamic Republic of
1000th anniversary of the composition of the Shâhnâme “The Book of the Kings" (2010)

The Shâhnâmeh is the work of the renowned tenth-century poet Ferdowsi (941-1020), who was the Persian equivalent of such poets as Homer for the classical world, and Shakespeare and Pushkin for English and Russian speakers. The work established Persian as a significant literary language, and is a key text in the history of the Persian Empire. International art historians consider this text as one of the most important of its kind ever produced. The text is also of critical significance as it helped to establish Persian as a monumental language and saved it from disappearing.
Prince Bayasanghor, who commissioned the work, was the grandson of Timur, known to Western history and literature as Tamerlane.
The Shâhnâmeh is listed on the Memory of the World Register and its world significance has been consequently established. The Islamic Republic of Iran plans to organize an international congress to commemorate this anniversary, and UNESCO should be associated as a partner of the conference in order to stress the importance of safeguarding documentary heritage and its contribution to preserving memory.
Photo legend: A battle-scene from the Baysonqori Ms of the Shahnameh.
© Golestan Palace


Japan
1300th anniversary of Nara Heijo-kyo, capital (710) (2010)

Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784. During this period the framework of national government was consolidated and Nara enjoyed great prosperity, emerging as the fountainhead of Japanese culture. The city’s historic monuments – Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and the excavated remains of the great Imperial Palace – provide a vivid picture of life in the Japanese capital in the eighth century, a period of profound political and cultural change.
Nara is a World Heritage site. The flowering of Japanese culture during the period when Nara was the capital is uniquely demonstrated by its architectural heritage. The layout of the Imperial Palace and the design of the surviving monuments in Nara are outstanding examples of the architecture and planning of early Asian capital cities. The Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines of Nara demonstrate the continuing spiritual power and influence of these religions in an exceptional manner.
On the occasion of the 1300th anniversary of Nara Heijo-kyo Capital, many commemorative events will be held in and around Nara throughout the year 2010.
© UNESCO / G. Boccardi


Latvia
50th anniversary of the Latvian School Youth Song and Dance Festival (1960) (Latvia, with the support of Estonia and Lithuania) (2010)

The Latvian School Youth Song and Dance Celebration is a festival which has taken place every five years in Riga since 1960. It aims to ensure the maintenance of the Baltic Song and Dance Celebration tradition, which was proclaimed Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2003 and which has pertained, as from November 2008, to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The Baltic Song and Dance Celebrations’ tradition is common tradition to all Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Its regional significance underlines a common responsibility for the continuation of the common tradition. In this regard, the Latvian School Youth Song and Dance Celebration is an important event for the continuity of the Baltic Song and Dance Celebration, which is a living example of strong choir singing, folk dance, folk singing and brass band traditions.


Poland
150th anniversary of the birth of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, pianist and politician (1860-1941) (2010)

Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941), Polish pianist, composer, diplomat and politician, studied music in his childhood at the Warsaw Conservatorium. In 1881 he went to Berlin to study music composition and in 1884 he moved to Vienna, where he made his musical debut in 1887. He soon gained great popularity and his subsequent appearances (in Paris in 1889, and in London in 1890) were major successes. His brilliant playing created admiration; and his triumphs were repeated in the United States of America in 1891. His name became synonymous with the highest level of piano virtuosity. He became one of Poland’s world-renowned pianists and composers. In addition to delighting Poland and the world with his music for over 50 years, Paderewski also became one of Poland’s great statesmen.
Photo legend: © Centrum Paderewskiego. Tarnów – Kąśna Dolna


200th anniversary of the birth of Frédéric Chopin, composer (1810-1849) (Poland, with the support of France) (2010)

Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849), a Polish composer and pianist, was one of the most famous virtuoso pianists of the nineteenth century and an important composer of Romantic music. His music (mazurkas, polonaises, nocturnes, piano concertos, etudes, ballades and others) is still among that most frequently played today and remains essential to an understanding of piano music.
He spent the first part of his life in Warsaw, where he received comprehensive education and became a virtuoso pianist. During this period his compositions were described in Vienna as showing signs of genius. In 1830 he left Poland and in 1831 settled in Paris. Promptly joining the circle of musicians most in the public eye (Liszt, Ferdinand Hiller and Berlioz), he was enormously successful and soon became a famous and celebrated musician. Together with Franz Liszt, he was the father of modern piano technique and inspired a whole line of composers in his wake.
Photo legend: Gottfried Engelmann, lithograph drawings by Pierre Roche Vigneron published by Maurice Schlesinger in Paris, 1833, 287 x 217. Collections: Museum of Frédéric Chopin - Warsaw [M/936].


Russian Federation
1000th anniversary of the foundation of the city of Yaroslavl (1010) (2010)

Lying at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl, some 250 km north-east of Moscow, the historic city of Yaroslavl developed into a major centre of trade from the eleventh century onwards. It is renowned for its many seventeenth-century churches and is an outstanding example of the urban redevelopment programme ordained for the whole of Russia by the Empress Catherine the Great in 1763. While some of its important historic buildings were retained, the city was redeveloped in the neoclassical style on a radial plan. Remnants from the sixteenth century are also to be found in the Spassky Monastery, one of the oldest in the Upper Volga region, which was constructed in the late twelfth century but has been rebuilt over the years.
The historic city, with its seventeenth-century churches, neoclassical radial urban plan and civil architecture, is an outstanding example of the interchange of cultural and architectural influences between Western Europe and the Russian Empire. The historic city of Yaroslavl has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 2005.


150th anniversary of the birth of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, writer (1860-1904) (2010)

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904), Russian short-story writer, playwright and physician, is considered to be one of the greatest short-story writers in world literature. His career as a dramatist produced four classics (The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard) and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. He made formal innovations which have influenced the evolution of the modern short story. His originality consists in an early use of the stream-of-consciousness technique, later adopted by James Joyce and other modernists. Chekhov practised as a doctor throughout most of his literary career.


Senegal
100th anniversary of the birth of Alioune Diop, Senegalese intellectual (1910-1980) (2010)

Alioune Diop (1910-1980) was a Senegalese intellectual who played a prominent role in the emancipation of African cultures. In 1947 he founded the journal Présence africaine, followed by the Society of African Culture, which has now become the African Community of Culture (CAC).
In 1956 he organized the First International Congress of Negro Writers and Artists, held at the Sorbonne in Paris and bringing together intellectuals and artists from many countries. Its 50th anniversary was celebrated at the Sorbonne and at UNESCO in 2006. In 1966, Alioune Diop, together with Léopold Sédar Senghor, organized the first World Festival of Negro Arts, held in Dakar. In the newly independent Senegal, this unique event also provided a first opportunity to commemorate the memory of slavery in the world and was the place where first the question of reparations was raised.
As an editor, Alioune Diop inspired a forum and created an intellectual movement of cultural demands known as negritude. He played a prominent role alongside other intellectuals in favour of the recognition and dissemination of the thought, cultures and arts of Africa and the Diaspora.
This anniversary will provide the artistic and cultural community, including the African and Africophile publishing world, with the opportunity to revisit the body of work of this illustrious figure in African civil society. The international community will be encouraged to support celebrations of Alioune Diop as part of the follow-up to the World Festival of Black Arts (FESMAN) and the Pan-African Cultural Festival, milestone events in placing culture at the heart of development.


Slovakia
150th anniversary of the birth of Martin Kukucín, writer (1860-1928) (2010)

Martin Kukučín (own name Matej Bencúr, 1860-1928), Slovak prose writer, dramatist and physician, was the most notable representative of Slovak literary realism, and considered to be one of the founders of modern Slovak prose. He studied medicine in Prague and spent his adult life in Croatia and Chile working as a physician. He maintained contacts with Slovakia largely by correspondence and publishing a series of texts on Dalmatian topics. His novels (Dom v stráni, Mat’volà, Dies irae) have been widely translated and have led to film productions and adaptations.

Switzerland
100th anniversary of the birth of Jeanne Hersch, philosopher (1910-2000) (2010)

Jeanne Hersch, a well-known philosopher with exemplary philosophical and academic credentials, marked her passage at UNESCO by being the first director of the Division of Philosophy, created in 1966. She was constantly searching for meaning, and embodied a powerful ambition for UNESCO to act in the field of philosophy, which she considered to be a stimulant and unique way of connecting the Organization’s varied and numerous activities. She thus played a key role in driving reflection in the twentieth century on freedom and human rights, and in this context she published a major work entitled The Right to Be a Man, which was translated into seven languages. She also played a significant role in enhancing the value of education, which she saw as an essential element of the human being. She excelled at explaining the most complex concepts in simple terms accessible to all.

Thailand
100th anniversary of the birth of Euah Suntornsanan, composer (1910-1981) (2010)

A prolific and talented composer and bandleader, Euah Sunthornsanan was a pioneer in introducing Western music into Thai popular culture. In the 1940s, he founded the Suntaraporn which is Thailand’s best-known big band. He has extensively performed in Thailand but also in other countries in the region such as Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Cambodia or China. Through his music and songs he successfully contributed to generating forces for peace and harmony among South-East Asian countries. The celebration of the centenary of his birth will no doubt provide an excellent opportunity to promote a better understanding of his unique contribution through the universal language of music.

Turkey
100th anniversary of the death of Osman Hamdi Bey, painter, archaeologist and art expert (1842-1910) (2010)

Osman Hamdi Bey (1842-1910) is one of the pioneers of Turkish museology and archaeology and also a distinguished painter. He established the country’s first museum, the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. He conducted the first Turkish scientific archaeological excavation (at the Commagene tomb-sanctuary at Mount Nemrut, a UNESCO World Heritage Site today). He also founded the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts (today’s Mimar Sinan University).

Ukraine
500th anniversary of the birth of Ivan Fyodorov, founder of book printing in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine (1510-1583) (Ukraine, with the support of the Russian Federation and Belarus) (2010)

Ivan Fyodorov (1510-1583) was the most celebrated among printers and one of the fathers of Russian and Ukrainian printing. He produced the first printed Church Slavonic Bible (the “Ostroh Bible” of 1580-1581), the first Russian (or other East Slavic) textbook (Bukvar, 1574), and the first printed Russian alphabetical subject index, calendar and poem. He was an accomplished craftsman in numerous trades, and a man of broad vision and great persistence. He played an important role in the promotion of literacy and Eastern Orthodox confessional unity, and introduced a high level of content, design and craftsmanship into a critically needed profession.

Viet Nam
1000th anniversary of the foundation of the city of Thang Long Ha Noi (1010) (2010)

Thang Long, which is Hanoi’s centre nowadays, was chosen by Ly Thai To, the founding king of Ly Dynasty, as the capital of Dai Viet Kingdom (nowadays Viet Nam) in autumn 1010. Thang Long means ascending dragon, symbolizing the will and thirst for independence of the Vietnamese people. Thang Long was almost continuously the capital city of Dai Viet Kingdom through different reigns.
The Cultural Heritage Complex of Thang Long – Hanoi consists of Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Thang Long Tu Tran and the Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temples of Literature – Imperial College).
From December 2002 to the beginning of 2004, the Viet Nam Archaeology Institute excavated on a large scale the archaeological site. This is the largest-scale archaeological excavation in Viet Nam and South-East Asia. A complex of abundant relics and vestiges has been discovered from Dai La citadel (seventh-ninth centuries) to Thang Long Citadel (eleventh-eighteenth centuries) and Hanoi citadel (nineteenth century).
Thang Long has been on the World Heritage Convention tentative list since 2006.

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