Celebration of anniversaries in 2012

50th anniversary of the death of Mouloud Feraoun, writer (1913-1962)

Mouloud Feraoun (1913-1962) was an Algerian writer who wrote in French. He studied at the École Normale of Bouzaréah, the French teacher training academy in Algiers, and worked for several years as a primary school teacher and head, and lower secondary school head, before being appointed inspector of social services. Feraoun wrote his first novel, Le fils du pauvre (The Poor Man’s Son), in 1934. The book, hailed by critics, was awarded the Grand Prize of the City of Algiers. He was assassinated by the French Secret Army Organization (Organisation de l'armée secrète - OAS) in Algiers on 15 March 1962.


1,650th anniversary of the birth of Mesrop Mashtots, inventor of the Armenian alphabet (c.362-440)

The Armenian alphabet is widely known by Armenian speakers (in Armenia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Georgia, Lebanon, etc.) as well as by polyglots and linguists for its long history and originality.

300th anniversary of the birth of Sayat-Nova (Harutyun (Arutin) Sayatyan), poet and musician (c.1712-1795) (Armenia, with the support of Georgia)

Sayat-Nova (1712 or 1717-1795), traditional musician and poet, wrote poems in various languages, which he sang accompanied by a musical instrument. His verse is renowned throughout the Caucasus. His musical and poetic genius represent the height of the art of minstrelsy.

500th anniversary of the first printed Armenian book (1512)

This printing of the first Armenian book has undeniably contributed to the documentary heritage of mankind, transmitting collective memory to future generations. It therefore can be considered as part of the Memory of the World.

1,400th anniversary of the birth of Anania Shirakatsi, scientist (612-685)

Anania Shirakatsi was one of the eminent scientists of the Middle Ages, especially in arithmetic, geometry and astronomy. When he was young, he left Armenia and travelled abroad for eleven years in the hope of getting a better education. Soon he met and fell under the tutelage of a renowned Greek scholar who spoke Armenian, Tychikos, and spent eight years learning mathematics with him in Trebizond, in the Byzantine Empire. He returned to his homeland in 651, determined to spread his knowledge among his fellow Armenians. Anania’s school was established at a time when the study of mathematics was waning. Few years later, he had gained a famous reputation throughout Armenia and abroad. He was a pioneer in several fields in science; in particular, he was the founder of exact and natural sciences in Armenia, and developed good theories in the field of astronomy.

1,150th anniversary of the city of Polotsk mentioned in the Primary Chronicle (862)

Polotsk is one of the most ancient cities of Eastern Europe. It was first mentioned in a chronicle of 862 and was at that time the capital of the Principality of Polotsk, one of the first Slavic States. The Principality, a vassal State of Kievan Rus’, was a major trading nation which traded with the other Slavic States and Scandinavia. The city was then one of the largest in the region and was described in Scandinavian sagas as the most heavily fortified city in Kievan Rus’. The Principality corresponded closely to what is now Belarus, so that Polotsk was in a sense the first Belarusian capital.

100th anniversary of the birth of Jorge Amado, writer (1912 -2001)

Jorge Amado (1912-2001) was a Brazilian writer of the Modernist school. He is one of the most famous modern Brazilian writers, whose work dealt largely with the poor urban black and mulatto communities of Bahia. At the end of his life he abandoned, in part, the realism and the social themes of his early works, producing a series of novels focusing mainly on feminine characters, devoted to a kind of smiling celebration of the traditions and the beauties of Bahia. Amado published his first novel, O País do Carnaval, in 1931, at age 18. In 1933 he published his second novel, Cacau, which increased his popularity. He gained great popularity with the publication of Jubiabá in 1935. His most famous novel Dona Flor and her Two Husbands (Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos) published in 1978 was a world success. He won various prizes and was elected in 1961 to the Brazilian Academy of Letters.

50th anniversary of the death of Candido Portinari, artist (1903-1962)

Candido Portinari (1903-1962) is one of the most popular Brazilian painters and a prominent and influential practitioner of the neo-realism style in painting. Portinari studied at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes (ENBA) in Rio de Janeiro. In 1928 he won a gold medal at the ENBA and a trip to Paris where he stayed until 1930, when he returned to Brazil. His career coincided with and included collaboration with the world-renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer among others. Portinari’s works can be found in galleries and settings in Brazil and abroad. A number of exhibitions of his painting have been organized internationally, including at UNESCO and the United Nations in New York where his panels Guerra e Paz (War and Peace) are permanently presented. The centenary of his birth was celebrated in 2003 at an international level.

250th anniversary of the Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya by Paisij de Hilendar (1762)

The book Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya was the first attempt to write a complete history of Bulgaria and to awake and strengthen Bulgarian national consciousnesses. Its most famous author Paisius of Hilendar (1722-1773) was a Bulgarian clergyman. He was based in the Hilendar Monastery in the Holy Mount Athos, but travelled extensively throughout the country and collected a vast amount of references to compile and write his concise and powerful version of Bulgarian history. He is considered as the forefather of the Bulgarian National Revival.

100th anniversary of the death of Rafael Pombo, writer (1833-1912)

José Rafael de Pombo y Rebolledo (1833-1912) was a Colombian poet, writer, translator and journalist. Trained as a mathematician and an engineer in a military school, Rafael Pombo served in the army and travelled to the United States of America as Secretary of the Legation in Washington. Rafael Pombo is mostly remembered for his contribution to children's literature. Among his most popular children’s fables are Michín, Juan Chunguero, Pastorcita, La Pobre Viejecita, Simón el Bobito, El Gato Bandido, and El Renacuajo paseador. In 1905 he was recognized as Colombia's best poet and his Poesías Completas were published in 1957.


100th anniversary of the birth of René Portocarrero, painter (1912-1985)

René Portocarrero (1912-1985) was a Cuban plastic artist, ceramicist and scenographer born in Havana. He produced wall paintings for public buildings in Cuba, and illustrated the works of Cuban authors. He participated in the São Paulo Art Biennial in 1957 and 1963, and in the Venice Bienniale in 1952 and 1966. His works are displayed in the permanent collections of American and European museums. His paintings are characterized by vibrant brushstrokes and by the great dynamism and poetry he confers on his Afro-Cuban subjects.

100th anniversary of the birth of Rita Longa, sculptor (1912-2000)

Rita Longa Aróstegui (1912-2000) was a Cuban sculptor, especially renowned in Cuba for her small- and large-scale sculptures. Her sculptural works are found all over Havana – at the National Zoo (“Family Group”), the Colón Cemetery, the Museum of Fine Arts (Shape, Space and Light), the Surgical Medical Centre, the Payret Theatre (“The Muses” and “Illusion”), Havana Libre Hotel (Clepsydra), and the garden of National Theatre (“Death of the Swan”) – as well as in other Cuban cities. Several of her works can be found in Spain, for example, a relief of José Martí in Madrid and a sculpture of Martí in Oleiros. Her “Gema” is found in Belgrade, Serbia.
Among her many awards, she won a Gold Medal at the Exhibition of the Architectural League of New York (1951). More recently, she was awarded the “Alejo Carpentier” Medal (1982), the National Visual Arts Prize (1995), and the “Félix Varela Order” (1996).

100th anniversary of the birth of Virgilio Piñera, writer (1912-1979)

Virgilio Piñera (1912-1979) is a well known author, playwright, poet, short-story writer, and essayist. His work includes essays on literature and literary criticism, several collections of short stories compiled under the title of Cold Tales, a great number of dramatic works, and three novels: La carne de René ; Presiones y Diamantes and Las pequeñas maniobras.

Czech Republic

100th anniversary of the birth of Jiří Trnka, designer and director of animated films (1912-1969) (Czech Republic, with the support of Slovakia)

Jiří Trnka (1912-1969) was a Czech puppet maker, illustrator, motion-picture animator and film director, renowned for his stop motion puppet animations. He is the author of more than 20 audiovisual productions which defined Czech motion-picture animation. His work had a wide influence among world filmmakers.

100th anniversary of the death of José Eloy Alfaro Delgado, statesman and thinker (1842-1912)

José Eloy Alfaro Delgado played a very important role in the national and regional construction process in Latin America. He was one of the leaders of nineteenth-century liberalism and emerging social movements. He contributed to building a modern State, and undertook important diplomatic missions to Spain and the United States with a view to emancipating countries in the region (Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Peru and Ecuador).

100th anniversary of the birth of Naguib Mahfouz, author and writer (1911-2006)

Naguib Mahfouz was an Egyptian writer who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature. He is regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature, along with Tawfiq el-Hakim, to explore themes of existentialism. He published over 50 novels, some 350 short stories, dozens of movie scripts, and five plays over a 70-year career. Many of his works have been made into Egyptian and foreign films.

150th anniversary of the birth of Claude Debussy, composer (1862-1918)

Achille-Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was a great French composer. He initiated a genuine musical revolution that coincided with the major late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century transformations. For instance, he introduced a new conception of musical time and space by establishing links with other art forms and the sensations they arouse, including sounds and scents, words and colours, etc. His creations interact with other musical traditions such as oriental music, and in their way prefigure new musical forms such as jazz and contemporary music.

300th anniversary of the birth of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosopher, writer and educationalist (1712-1778) (Switzerland and France)

Major Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of eighteenth-century Romanticism, his political philosophy heavily influenced the French Revolution, as well as the American Revolution and the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought. As such, Jean-Jacques Rousseau remains one of the greatest European philosophers. His novel, Émile: or, On Education is a seminal treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship. His Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and his On the Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought and make a strong case for democratic government and social empowerment.


300th anniversary of the printed edition of the epic poem The Knight in the Panther’s Skin (1712)

The Georgian medieval epic poem The Knight in the Panther’s Skin is the first secular book printed in a Georgian typography as well as the first publication of the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli. As such it is an outstanding example of documentary heritage that is of importance not only to Georgia but to the rest of the world.

150th anniversary of the birth of Niko Pirosmani, painter (1862-1918)

Niko Pirosmani, also known as Niko Pirosmanashvili (1862-1918) was a self-taught Georgian painter. Pirosmani, a major artist who excelled in naïve art, painted mainly scenes of Georgian daily life (banquets, scenes of rural life) and portraits of mythological and political scenes. The world-renowned artist is famous in his country for having produced numerous signs for dukans (Tbilisi inns) in exchange for board and lodging.

50th anniversary of the death of Hermann Hesse, poet and novelist (1877- 1962)

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) was a German – and subsequently Swiss – novelist, poet, painter and essayist. He was an internationally renowned author who loved and respected Indian culture and oriental wisdom. As a follower of the psychoanalytic movement, he explored in his books the various aspects of the human condition. His main works are: Siddhartha (1922), Steppenwolf (1927) and The Glass Bead Game (1943) – for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946. Each work explores in its own way an individual quest for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality.

250th anniversary of the death of Dorothea Christiane Erxleben, medical scientist (1715-1762)

Instructed in natural sciences and in practical and theoretical medicine by her father, Dorothea Christiane Erxleben carried out a long social and legal battle to obtain the access to university studies. Being the first woman who obtained a medical degree in Germany she represents a model for the cause of women in science. The celebration of this anniversary would be an important opportunity to rediscover the crucial role of this pioneering woman scientist who opened the way for many other women, which is of relevance to the Women in Science Programme.

50th anniversary of the death of George N Papanicolaou, scientist (1883-1962)

George Papanicolaou was a Greek pioneer in cytology and early cancer detection. In particular he invented the famous “Pap test”, which is used worldwide and has saved the lives of millions of women.

100th anniversary of the birth of János Szentágothai, neuroscientist (1912-1994)

Janos Szentagothai was a prominent neurobiologist who was president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and a member of Parliament. He is one of the pioneers of 20th century brain research. In particular he discovered and described the micro-anatomical structure and physiological functioning of the cortical modul. Students all over the world studied human anatomy from his textbooks and atlases.

100th anniversary of the birth of Sir Georg Solti, conductor (1912-1997) (Hungary, with the support of the United Kingdom and Switzerland)

Sir Georg Solti (1912-1997) was a Hungarian-British orchestral and operatic conductor. He was a major classical recording artist, holding the record for having received the most Grammy Awards, having personally won 31 as a conductor, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to his recordings he is probably best known for leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1969-1991. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century.

Iran, Islamic Republic of
500th anniversary of the achievements of Abd-ol-Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Husayn Birjandi, scientist and astronomer (born 16th century; died 1528)

Abd-ol-Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Husayn Birjandi was a prominent Persian mathematician, astronomer and physicist in the 16th century. He wrote several books, in particular in the field of celestial mechanics, compilation of calendars, logic, and agriculture. He is well known in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Russia, Europe and the United States of America, where his scientific work has been analysed and studied.

100th anniversary of the birth of Giulio Einaudi, publisher (1912-1999)

Giulio Einaudi (1912-1999), editor and cultural promoter, was the son of Luigi Einaudi, future president of the Italian Republic, and his wife Ida. In 1933 he founded his own publishing house, Giulio Einaudi Editore. He worked until 1997 in the publishing business.
The activity of Giulio Einaudi as an editor and cultural promoter was of fundamental importance. In his role as an active witness of the democratic reconstruction, his oeuvre had the merit of significantly contributing to the progress of art studies, scientific research and in the national editorial market. Availing himself of highly intellectual collaborators, he managed to enrich the editorial view of the 20th century throughout the years, by publishing the works of many significant Italian writers (Pavese, Fenoglio, Elsa Morante, Primo Levi, Fo, Volponi, De Filippo, etc.) and by managing the translations of many leading figures of international literature (Queneau, Sartre, Saramago, Philip Roth, Arthur Miller, Pinter, Hrabal, McEwan, etc.).

200th anniversary of the rediscovery of Petra (1812)

Jordan wishes to commemorate the re-discovery of Petra by John Burkhardt in 1812. Inhabited since prehistoric times, this Nabataean caravan-city, situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, was an important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia. Petra is half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by mountains riddled with passages and gorges. It is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites, where ancient Eastern traditions blend with Hellenistic architecture. The city was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1985.

100th anniversary of the birth of Ufa Mendbayevich Ahmedsafin, scientist (1912-1984)

The management of water resources is a priority for the natural sciences programme, in particular the management of groundwater resources which are increasingly important for the freshwater supply of populations worldwide and for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The International Hydrological Programme (IHP) activities on transboundary aquifers promotes international cooperation on freshwater management. Ufa Mendbayevich Akhmedsafin was a leader in the establishment of methods to map underground water resources and carried out extensive research on the subject. His fundamental work which is an inspiration to hydogeologists today and his contribution to the science of hydrology should be commemorated in 2012.


600th anniversary of the institutionalization of Kabary by King Andriamoraony (1412)

Kabary, regarded today as national heritage, has been since its inception a mode of social regulation and communication between social groups, and between those in authority and the people. It has remained alive throughout history and across the country through its different meanings and forms: reminders of ancient customs, transmission of historical events, assemblies, public consultations, gatherings, news, trials, advocacy, tribunals, judgements, deliberations, speeches, proclamations of various messages, and formation of alliances and treaties.
The content of Kabary, which are entirely in Malagasy, has certainly remained in people’s memory, but the most famous have been transcribed since Madagascar entered into relations with foreigners, especially since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Many of these works now constitute the source of knowledge of the evolution and development of this institution that has marked national life throughout the country over the centuries, in relations and mediation, both within local communities and in customary relations.

700th anniversary of the work of Kankou Moussa, the “Builder” of education, religious dialogue and the rapprochement of Arab and African civilizations

Kankou Moussa, to be celebrated in 2012, ruled an extensive territory that spanned from the Atlantic Ocean and the Niger bend (now Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and part of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana). Renowned for his open-mindedness and generosity, he is also recognized as a great builder of monuments, in particular those located in the capital – and major international urban centre of that time – Timbuktu.
Kankou Moussa (or Kanga Moussa), an undisputed architect of dialogue and the rapprochement of cultures, also contributed to the expansion of Islam in West Africa, thus making him a key advocate of intercultural and interreligious dialogue.
The same desire for rapprochement and peace among peoples led to the widespread dissemination of the Manden Charter, institutionalized by Soundiata Keita and his assembly in 1236 for social cohesion. This Charter, one of the oldest constitutions in the world, promoted social peace in diversity and foreshadowed what would be later known as human rights. “The Manden Charter was based on mutual understanding, agreement, love, freedom and fraternity. This means that there is no room for ethnic or racial discrimination in Manden”.


1,150th anniversary of the foundation of the University of al-Qaraouiyyine

The University al-Qaraouiyyine is situated in the Fez medina, an area classified by UNESCO as international World Heritage site. Moreover, it is the oldest active university in the world, having been founded in 859 AD. Last year was the 1,150th anniversary of the university, and it would be opportune to seize this moment (the celebrations are planned in September 2012) to acknowledge the university’s historical role in education, science and culture as part of Muslim civilization and as a contribution to universal cultural heritage. Luminaries such as Pope Sylvester II, Maimonide Alveasov (renowned Jewish doctor), and Ibn Khaldūn, the founder of modern sociology have studied here, demonstrating the university’s openness to other religions and cultures. The university has encouraged tolerance and conviviality, and contributed to science and culture.
Moreover, the monument itself is within the heart of the old city of Fez and is an important component of national and universal cultural heritage.

200th anniversary of the foundation of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) (1812)

The UNAN Leon University was founded on 12 January 1812 and it was the last university established in the region by Spain and the second in Central America.
The University was set up with the same mandate as others in the Americas with the slogan Sic itur ad astra (“this way to the stars”). In 1947 it was upgraded to National University by a presidential ordinance and on 27 March 1958, it obtained its autonomy. From that moment it was called Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua, UNAN Leon.
The institution was at the start of higher education in Nicaragua; the offer was then expanded to El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica. Several future Presidents and personalities from those countries studied in this university. Thus, the UNAN Leon possesses a rich cultural and scientific history which has contributed to strengthening higher education development in Central America as well as regional integration.
At the national level, it is considered a source of rich culture, a leader in scientific research and in the formation of high-quality professionals. It is also a recognized symbol of higher learning in Central America.
The proposed activities to mark the event promote much needed collaboration between Central American countries through education, science, culture and communication, all key areas of work by UNESCO. This inter-country collaboration aims at guaranteeing universal respect of justice, the supremacy of law, human rights and the fundamental freedom of all the nations regardless of race, sex, language or religion, as recognized in the United Nations Charter. Specifically, the activities will provide specialized knowledge and foster alliances to strengthen national leadership and capacity to deliver quality education for all, using innovative ways to link higher education to national development and contribute to the educational development of Central America and of Nicaragua.

100th anniversary of the death of Bolesław Prus, writer (1847-1912)

Bolesław Prus (1847-1912) born Aleksander Głowacki, was the leading figure in Polish literature of the late 19th century and a distinctive voice in world literature. As a 15-year-old, he joined the Polish 1863 Uprising against Imperial Russia. In 1872 at age 25, he settled into a 40-year journalistic career that highlighted science, technology, education, and economic and cultural development. As a sideline he wrote short stories. Achieving success with these, he went on to employ a larger canvas. Over the decade between 1884 and 1895, he completed four major novels: The Outpost, The Doll, The New Woman and Pharaoh.
Characteristic of Prus’ stories are his keen observation of everyday life and his sense of humour. Prus’ prose is often a poetic prose. His stories also often contain elements of fantasy or whimsy. A fair number of his stories originally appeared in New Year’s issues of newspapers.

Republic of Korea
250th anniversary of the birth of Cheong Yagyong, philosopher (1762-1836)

Jeong Yak-yong (1762-1836, pen name Dasan) is a very important Korean philosopher whose work and ideas actively influenced the modernization of the Korean social, agricultural and political structures. He is well-known for his excellent knowledge of Confucianism, for his enthusiasm with regard to European modernity, and for being a critic of his contemporary philosophers for engaging in both fruitless etymological scholarship and pursuing philosophical theory for their own sake. His argument embodies the bridging between scientific knowledge, social applications and political implications.
Encouraging symposiums and teaching about Dasan’s philosophy is particularly important since today philosophy departments in most Korean universities teach mainly European modern philosophy.

100th anniversary of the birth of George Emil Palade, scientist (1912-2008)

Pioneer in the study of cell biology George Emil Palade was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1974. He developed modern techniques to study cell structures; he discovered the ribosome, the endoplasmic reticulum and explained the mechanism of protein secretion. He can be considered the father of modern cell biology. The celebration of this anniversary is important from a basic science point of view, considering that George Emil Palade has been described as “the most influential cell biologist ever” in 1974, and it would increase public awareness of science in line with UNESCO’s mandate.

100th anniversary of the birth of Sergiu Celibidache, conductor (1912-1996)

Sergiu Celibidache (1912-1996) was one of the greatest twentieth-century orchestra conductors. He studied mathematics, music and philosophy in Bucarest and Berlin. He conducted the famous Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the French National Orchestra and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. Lastly, his exceptionally long and rich cooperation with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra from 1979 made him a living myth of skill, rigour and precision. He conducted orchestras throughout the world (in particular, in Italy, Latin America and Scandinavia), always with great success, and steered clear of the record industry as a matter of principle. Throughout his musical career, Celibidache reflected deeply and rigorously on his art, and tirelessly transmitted his knowledge at various places worldwide, in particular at the University of Mainz, for 13 years, but also in Munich and Paris.

100th anniversary of the death of Spiru Haret, scientist (1851-1912)

Spiru Haret earned diplomas both in mathematics and physics. His career as a scientist was short-lived, but he published two textbooks in algebra and trigonometry and made a fundamental contribution to the n-body problem in astronomy (which serves as a basis for the work of other scientists such as the chaos theory of the renowned scientist Henri Poincaré). At the end of his life, he also became a pioneer in the use of mathematics in understanding and explaining social phenomenon. After receiving his Ph.D., he dedicated the rest of his life to improving Romanian education, which was sorely underdeveloped at the time. This work fully matches one of the activities of the Natural Sciences Sector, namely enhancing quality science and mathematics education in priority needs area.

Russian Federation
150th anniversary of the foundation of the Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory (1862)

The Saint Petersburg conservatory has had an international role in the artistic and cultural life as generations of musicians and dancers have graduated from the institution. Among them it is worth mentioning international recognized artists such as George Balanchine – choreographer; Richard Burgin – violinist, conductor; Alexander K.Borovsky – pianist; Sergei Diaghilev – impressario; Valery Gergiev – conductor; Sergei Prokofiev – composer; Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – composer; Dmitri Shostakovich – composer; Grigory Sokolov – pianist; Sergei Rachmaninoff – pianist.

100th anniversary of the foundation of the Alexander Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (1912)

The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts was founded in 1912. While it has gone by other names, its current name honours Alexander Pushkin, the father of Russian literature and historical Russian icon. The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts houses art works of non-Russian artists. Included in the collection are works of art from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, and medieval, Renaissance, and modern Europe. Famous painters are well represented.
The museum’s exhibitions of private collections, shown in a separate building, include Russian works of the twentieth century.

250th anniversary of the birth of Bernolák Anton, philologist (1762)

Anton Bernolák (1762-1813) was a Slovak linguist and Catholic priest and the author of the first Slovak language standard. In his work “Gramatica Slavica” (published in 1790) he codified the first Slovak language standard and established the principle of phonetic spelling. The language, called bernolákovcina, however, wasn't accepted as a national standard language, although it was a milestone on the way to the formation of the modern Slovak nation. During his whole life Bernolak collected materials for a dictionary, which was published after his death.

South Africa
50th anniversary of the Rivonia process, which led to Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment in his fight against apartheid (1962)

This celebration is in line with the spirit of the United Nations’ decision to celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day. It will provide also an occasion to reiterate UNESCO’s recognition of its Goodwill Ambassador actions in favour of peace, democracy, respect for cultural diversity, national reconciliation and mutual understanding among citizens and peoples from different origins.
For the whole world and for younger generations in particular, Nelson Mandela personifies the fight against violence and injustice by peaceful means. The celebration of the 50th anniversary of the imprisonment of Dr Nelson Mandela will serve to raise awareness, particularly among youth, of the importance of efforts to promote peace and non-violence.

50th anniversary of the creation of the Pan African Women’s Organization (PAWO) (1962)

PAWO was formed in 1962 when a group of African women freedom fighters paid a courtesy call to Mr Julius Nyerere, then Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania to support his efforts for the creation of the unborn Organization of African Unity. The warm support they received from him was the first gender consciousness of the Pan-African movement.
The Pan African Women’s Organization played a significant role in the creation of the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU) and in the continent‘s political independence.
PAWO proposed the celebration of 31 July as African Women’s Day, which is celebrated all over the continent. It aims at ensuring full and effective participation of women in political, economic and social development particularly in member countries and internationally. It is at the origin of a movement to empower women in the continent and to struggle for improvement of the status of women and strengthen, through cooperation and solidarity, African women and women of the world. Several African decision-makers learnt with PAWO about the necessity to work for the emancipation of women and participated in the awareness-raising activities promoted by this African civil society organization.

200th anniversary of the Constitution of 1812

The year 2012 will be marked by the 200th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution of 1812 through the organization of congresses, seminars, conferences, exhibitions and cultural activities by the University of Cádiz and the City of Cádiz in Spain.
Even if the first Constitution in Spain was not a revolutionary one, it was one of the most liberal at that time in Europe. For instance, its main features were: male universal voting right, national sovereignty, constitutional monarchy, division of power and freedom of the press, among others. Therefore, the 1812 Constitution represents a political paradigm (shaped in the Cádiz Cortes) with a high significance for the political history of Spain and for the struggles for emancipation and independence of Latin America and the Caribbean. Some historians presume that the Constitution of Apatzingán (Mexico) was declared by the Independentists of New Spain and had similarities with the Cádiz Constitution.

1,000th anniversary of the founding of the city of Granada (1012-1013)

In 1012-1013 the city of Granada acquired importance; before that time it was occasionally mentioned by Arabian historians, but always as a dependency of Elvira (ancient city of Spain now Granada). With the arrival of the Zirid dynasty in 1013, Granada became an independent emirate Taifa of Granada. During the Reconquista the Nasrids aligned themselves with Ferdinand III of Castille and in 1238 the state officially became the Emirate of Granada. The Kingdom of Granada has been a fundamental factor in the history of Al-Andalus and of Spain as a whole; it has played a critical role as a blend of cultures and religions. The 1492 surrender of the Islamic Emirate of Granada to the Catholic Monarchs is one of the more significant events in Granada’s history and also the completion of the Reconquista of Al-Andalus.

300th anniversary of the birth of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosopher, writer and educationalist (1712-1778) (Switzerland and France)

Major Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of eighteenth-century Romanticism, his political philosophy heavily influenced the French Revolution, as well as the American Revolution and the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought. As such, Jean-Jacques Rousseau remains one of the greatest European philosophers. His novel, Émile: or, On Education is a seminal treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship. His Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and his On the Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought and make a strong case for democratic government and social empowerment.

150th anniversary of the birth of Queen Sri Savarindira, Queen Grandmother of Thailand (1862-1955)

The Queen Grandmother continues to be revered to this day in Thailand for her foresight in many fields of development and humanitarian assistance. Her enduring concern for and personal patronage of medical and educational services for the welfare of the people, particularly the rural poor, has in many ways set the path for the benevolent actions of the present-day King and other members of Thailand’s royal family. Of particular note was her role in founding the country’s Red Cross Society. On an international level, she helped to enhance the country’s diplomatic relations.

100th anniversary of the birth of Boonlua Debyasuvarn, teacher and educator (1911-1982)

M.L. Boonlua is widely acknowledged as one of Thailand’s foremost educators during a critical period of the country’s modernization. Through her lifetime of service as a teacher, educational administrator, language and literature specialist and a writer, she can be rightly hailed as a beacon for advancing not only education, but also intercultural dialogue within Thailand and the region at large. Through her work and by personal example, she was also a tireless advocate for girls and women. In this regard, the commemoration of her centennial birth anniversary in 2012 by UNESCO would be fitting recognition given her contribution to UNESCO’s mandate both directly and indirectly.

150th anniversary of Emancipation Day (1862)

On 4 June 1862, Taufa’ahau (who later became the first King of Tonga), proclaimed an Emancipation Code which officially abolished serfdom and slavery everywhere in Tonga. By introducing equity issues it was essential in the fight for eliminating feudalism and related human rights abuses. This historic first step towards the introduction of democracy in the country is observed and celebrated annually on 4 June through “Emancipation Day”, a public holiday.
The commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Emancipation Day will offer the opportunity to transmit these essential elements of the history of Tonga to the present generation and young people by putting particular emphasis on Tonga’s cultural heritage. The activities will include conferences, festivals, awards and a documentary. The Tongan communities around the world, in particular in the Pacific region and the United States of America are being mobilized.
The Emancipation Code is an outstanding example of the universal struggle for freedom, dignity and democracy as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The celebration of the 150th anniversary of its proclamation is in keeping with UNESCO’s objectives of promoting the advancement of human rights and a culture of peace.

Trinidad and Tobago
100th anniversary of the birth of Eric Williams, scholar and statesman (1911-1981)

Eric Williams produced a number of scholarly works focused on the Caribbean such as Capitalism and Slavery. Of particular significance are two books published in the 1960s long after he had abandoned his academic career for public life: British Historians and the West Indies and From Columbus to Castro. The former, based on research done in the 1940s and initially presented at a symposium at Atlanta University, sought to condemn racism in the nineteenth and early twentieth century in the West Indies Region.
His work covers the following fields of competence of UNESCO: education, culture, social and human sciences, communication.

300th anniversary of the death of Yusuf Nabi, poet and philosopher (1641-1712)

Yusuf Nabi (1642-1712) was a Turkish poet who lived in the court of Mehmed IV. As well as being a highly distinguished man of action, he was one of the greatest scholars of his century. His style of poetry is didactic and displays considerable rhetorical eloquence. Two of his works are particularly noteworthy: the Dīwān, in which he demonstrates his full range of skills, shifting with ease from philosophy to lyricism and from lyricism to satire, and the famous Hairiye-i Nabī (Advice to his son), which has special significance in Turkish literature since, apart from its sententious tone and precepts in verse form, it offers a sharp satire of that period.

100th anniversary of the birth of Kemal Ahmet Aru, architect and urban planner (1912-2005)

The thinking of Kemal Ahmet Arû is a leading guidance for all town planners and architects in the world. For the education and training of students and teachers of UNESCO Chairs, the celebration of this anniversary will be inspiring and Chairholders could participate in the commemoration events in the international arena.

300th anniversary of the death of Buhurizade Mustafa Itri, musician (1640-1712)

Buhurizade Itri (c. 1640-1712) musician, composer, calligrapher and poet, whose real name was Mustafa was a major exponent of Turkish classical music. He was a very prolific composer with more than a thousand works. However, only about 40 of these survived to this day. He lived through the times of five Ottoman Sultans. He became well known during the time of Mehmed IV. As with most composers of his day, Buhurizade Itri was also a famous poet and a calligrapher. He used poetic forms based on the classical Ottoman school of poetry (Dīvān), as well as those based on syllabic meters identified with folk music and poetry. Unfortunately most of his poetry has not survived to this day.

United States of America
150th anniversary of the birth of Edith Wharton, writer (1862-1937)

Edith Wharton (born Edith Newbold Jones, 1862-1937) was an American novelist, short story writer, and designer who become the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel “The Age of Innocence” (1920). She was the author of numerous best-selling award-winning works including novels, short stories and travel essays which have been a source of inspiration of many authors. Some of her works have been adapted to the stage and many of them are still in print today.

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