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What are the programmes of the Slave Route Project?

Since its inception, the Slave Route Project has organized its activities around four programmes :

  • the scientific programme on thematic networks (Fight against Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia)
  • the programme for teaching and education on the slave trade and slavery implemented within the framework of UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project (Breaking the silence)
  • the programme for the promotion of cultures and living forms of artistic and spiritual expressions resulting from the interactions generated by the slave trade and slavery
  • the programme on cultural tourism for the identification, restoration and promotion of sites and places of memory of the slave trade and slavery in Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean. This includes the identification and preservation of archives – written and oral traditions – relative to the slave trade (Slave Trade Archives project) and the development of a tourism of memory

The Achievements and Intersectoral Approach of the Slave Route Project

During the initial ten years (1994-2004) of the programme, the Slave Route Project achieved significant results. The establishment of academic networks fostered research on key aspects of the slave trade and slavery such as its ideological and legal foundations, intangible heritage in Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Americas and the Caribbean, and the highlighting of cultures and living artistic and spiritual forms of expression.

In several countries, sites, buildings and places of memory have been identified in cooperation with the World Tourism Organization (WTO), stimulating tourism projects. Furthermore, cooperation has been established with relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, such as the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The purpose of these efforts has been to preserve and open these sites to the public, while promoting respect for and appreciation of their significance.

The publication of several studies, documentary films and articles in the international press have brought this work to the attention of the general public, thereby enhancing the project’s visibility. Furthermore, through the Associated Schools Project Network, the slave trade and slavery, which have long been ignored, are the subject of a school textbook pilot project.

The adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (Durban, 31 August - 8 September 2001) and the proclamation of 2004 as the "International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition" have provided UNESCO with additional opportunities to strengthen the synergy among these various lines of action on the basis of an intersectoral approach.

In turn, UNESCO’s Culture and Education Sectors strive to encourage reflection, scientific and historical research and the dissemination of information on slavery and its consequences. The Social and Human Sciences Sector and the Communication Sector also participate importantly in the project by developing new initiatives to combat the lingering consequences of the slave trade and slavery such as discrimination and racism.

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What is the International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition?

The International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition is celebrated annually on 23 August. It offers an opportunity for collective consideration on the causes and consequences of slavery and the slave trade in order to break the silence that has long surrounded this tragedy. Each year numerous activities and commemorative events are organized world-wide.
For more information, please consult 2004, Commemoration Year

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What is the Slave Route Project?

The UNESCO Slave Route Project was officially launched at the First Session of the International Scientific Committee of the Slave Route in 1994 in Benin. The Project aims to break the silence surrounding slavery and the slave trade and contribute to the establishment of a culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence among peoples and races.

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What is the Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project - Breaking the Silence? Who are the members of the Associated Schools Network?

The Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) comprises over 7.600 educational institutions in 175 countries. In 1998 the network launched the Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project, Breaking the Silence, with the aim of improving the teaching of history by telling the whole story behind slavery and the slave trade. The Project seeks to promote intercultural dialogue between young people and fight stereotypes, discrimination and prejudices of all kinds.


Membership of the UNESCO ASP Network is open to educational institutions with prior approval from the national authorities.

For more information, please consult the official website to the project.

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What is the UNESCO Slave Trade Archives Project? Is the project operational in my country?

The Slave Trade Archives Project was launched in 1999 with the aim of improving access to and safeguarding original documents related to slavery and the slave trade. It aims to create a searchable database of slave trade archives and engage in digitisation of documents. The Project is currently operational in several countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Where can I find funding for projects and activities related to slavery and the slave trade?

Unfortunately, the Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue is unable to provide funding at the present time. However, we suggest you send your proposals to the National Commission of your country. We also encourage you to send a copy of your proposals to UNESCO to the following address:
The Slave Route Project, History and Culture Section
Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue
1, rue Miollis
75015, Paris
Tel: +33(1) 45684251; Fax: +33(1) 45685751
E-mail: r.esclave(at)

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