GIS -28 November, 2017: The Statutory Meeting of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project (SRP) kicked off yesterday in the presence of the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, at Le Meridien Hotel in Pointe aux Piments. The two-day event coincides with the third anniversary of the inscription of the Sega Tipik on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
In his address Minister Roopun underscored that the SRP will contribute to a better understanding of the various global transformations and cultural interactions that have taken place over the years. The other goal of SRP, he pointed out, is to endorse a culture of peace by promoting reflection on cultural pluralism, intercultural dialogue and the construction of new identities as well as citizenship.
He emphasised that research on the history of slave trade will give new dimensions to diversity and will consolidate fraternal links between countries. Further collaboration with UNESCO will help create synergies among Eastern African countries and Indian Ocean Island States for the preservation of common cultural heritage, Mr Roopun added.
The Minister also recalled that the SRP is in line with the Indentured Labour Route Project and it will lead to a better management of memories as well as experiences relating to indentureship and slavery. On that score, he underlined that these projects will act as the foundation in shaping the contemporary society and urge more diversity acceptance across the world.
Speaking of Sega Tipik, Mr Roopun pointed out that it is a musical dance expression symbolising the sufferings of slaves. The inscription of Sega Tipik on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Heritage is a matter of pride for the country and it is important to promote this art form amidst the future generation, he added.
For her part, the Director of UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, Ms Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta stated that the SRP represents a major historical advancement. The project will encourage further research and development as regards slavery and will contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage, she said.
The Slave Route, launched in 1994, is an intercultural project administered, coordinated and monitored by the UNESCO’s Department of Intercultural Dialogue and Pluralism for a Culture of Peace to gain better understanding of the transatlantic slave trade in the 18th century. Its main objective is to make the subject of transatlantic slave trade and slavery be universally known in the Indian Ocean, Caribbean and the Mediterranean regions.
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