Cuba's Rumba Listed As World ‘Intangible’ Heritage by UNESCO

Rumba music is historically linked to the slave trade and remains a key element of modern Cuban culture.

UNESCO gave the nod to Cuba's rumba on Wednesday, saying it evokes "grace, sensuality and joy" as it added the genre to the body's prestigious list of "intangible" heritage.

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The Cuban delegation to UNESCO's talks in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa dedicated the decision to revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who died on Friday aged 90.

Rumba originally rose to prominence in the working-class neighborhoods of northern Cuban cities such as Havana and Matanzas, before growing popular in rural areas of the country where communities of African slave descendants lived in the late 19th century.

“Spreading from the west to the east of the country, it has been a major symbol of a marginal layer of Cuban society and identity, acting as an expression of self-esteem and resistance and a tool for social outreach, helping to enrich the lives of practicing communities,” said UNESCO in a statement.

The organization said the Cuban musical genre is a unique combination of West African culture with Antillean and Spanish flamenco influences.

A rumba show performed live usually includes polyrhythmic percussion or handclapping, elaborate dancing and specific body movement, resulting in a festive atmosphere.

“The dances and chants evoke a sense of grace, sensuality and joy that aims to connect people, regardless of their social and economic background, gender or ethnicity,” add UNESCO.

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Head of UNESCO Signs Condolences Book After Fidel's Death

Paris, Nov 28 (Prensa Latina) UNESCO's Director-general Irina Bokova today signed the book of condolences opened at the Cuban embassy in France on the occasion of the death of the historic leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro.

Visibly moved, Bokova paid tribute to Fidel and wrote in Spanish: 'My deepest condolences for the passing of Commander Fidel Castro Ruz, who for more than half a century was a tireless advocate of the disinherited and a promoter of education as a key factor in the cultural, social and human growth of peoples'

After learning about Fidel's death, Bokova sent a letter to Cuban President Raúl Castro in which she referred to the revolutionary leader as a symbol of solidarity at an international level.

'Thanks to the efforts of Fidel Castro Ruz, Cuba is a world example in terms of solidarity and cooperation,' she stressed.

'I want to express to you, on behalf of UNESCO and myself, our deep sadness and deepest condolences,' the letter added.

The Cuban embassy in France today opened a book of condolences that will be available for several days for those who wish to express their thoughts.

Throughout the day hundreds of people have come to the embassy to write messages, including ambassadors, intellectuals, members of solidarity groups and numerous citizens.

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French and Cuban History Museums Sign Agreement

The Natural History Museum of Paris and its Cuban counterpart signed today here an agreement of collaboration destined to legalize the exchanges between both institutions.

On the French part the director of the French scientific entity in Paris, Bruno David; and the director of the National Museum of Natural History of Cuba (MNHN), Esther Pérez.

One of the objectives of the agreement, emphasizes the text, is to create an interrelation and scientific exchanges on the fauna and the flora of our country, Cuba.

Also, to develop joint research allowing to extend the collaboration, knowledge on botany, zoology, and ecology of the flora and the fauna of Cuba, inside the research projects planned by each of the institutions.

To join efforts, resources, scientific knowledge and joint technical staff, leading to the development of projects in the study of the collections of butterflies, chandeliers and birds of every institution, as well as the achievement of collection of specimens in Cuba to take part in the description of the fauna of every country, constitutes another of the targets.

The specialists' exchange will provide information by means of chats, workshops and seminars; as well as achievement of joint exhibitions with shared histories about the investigated groups; incorporation in the exhibitions of technologies or other interactive elements that facilitate the interaction with the visitor.

For the director of the MNHN the agreement is important, since a joint work exists with the Parisian entity, which hoards Cuban collections deposited by the Cuban naturalist of French ancestry Felipe Poey (1799-1891).

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Cuba Aspires Inclusion of Rumba Genre as Cultural heritage

Cuba aspires to include the local Rumba genre as part of the representative list of the Cultural immaterial Heritage of the United Nation Organization for the Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), during the meeting of the governmental Committee about that theme.

In the meeting, which is planned to be carried out from November 28th through December 2nd in Ethiopia, will be decided the insertion of that musical genre on that list which includes the Beer from Belgium and the 24 solar period, the knowledge about time in China and the related practice that is developed through the observation of the sun´s annual movement, According to the local Prensa Latina news agency.

The reports given by the UNESCO about that theme, accept the Rumba musical genre´s values as an expressive style of music and dance which mixtures tradition and the contemporary by promoting the self-esteem and the cultural identity of its practitioners.

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Unesco Presents Volumes Devoted to Islamic Culture

Paris, Nov 14 (Prensa Latina) The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will, this week, present the last two volumes of the collection ''Different Aspects of Islamic Culture'', dedicated to the investigation of the Muslim tradition and its contributions to progress, the organization stated today.

According to a statement issued by UNESCO, 'Different Aspects of Islamic Culture' is a unique collection comprised of six volumes with more than 5,700 pages. It was compiled by more than 150 researchers and specialists, who were tasked with producing a comprehensive collection of 'knowledge on the complexity and diversity of Islamic culture '.

The materials 'offer to all interested persons knowledge and a pluralistic and global perspective of Islam and its contributions to progress,' said the statement.

The collection was launched in 1977 and covers 40 years of work by Muslim and non-Muslin experts. This week volumes I and VI will be presented.

Volume I, entitled 'The Foundations of Islam', explores the pillars of the faith, its principles, its conceptions of God and Man and the ideals that have marked the Islamic vision of the world through time and space.

Volume VI, which entitled is 'Islam in the World Today' penetrates into the practices of this religious community through a rigorous analysis of their economic, political and socio-cultural characteristics.

The rest of the volumes, previously published, focus on the status of the individual and society, science and technology, as well as culture and education in Islam.

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Cuba and UNESCO Organize International Jazz Day

Havana, Nov 9 (Prensa Latina) Cuba and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have held meetings on the preparations for the 6th edition of International Jazz Day, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs said today.

Cuban Culture Minister, Abel Prieto, and UNESCO Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information, Eric Falt, discussed the matter as Havana will host the event on April 30th, 2017.

They also took advantage of the meeting to highlight Cuba's excellent relations with UNESCO.

International Jazz Day is a space to bring together international artists, academicians and followers of the musical genre and learn about their roots, impact and future.

This event has been celebrated around the world with the collaboration of the 'Thelonious Monk' Institute of Jazz, and has been celebrated every April 30th, after the date was chosen at the UNESCO General Conference in November 2011.

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UNESCO Celebrates Nobel Peace Award to President of Colombia

Paris, Oct 7 (Prensa Latina) The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, is celebrating the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, and the ''historical initiative'' to end the armed conflict in that nation.

'The decision of the Nobel Committee to honor President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon and the historical Colombian peace initiative, sends a powerful message to the continent and the world,' said the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

According to Bokova, this award is a reminder that peace is possible in a nation, 'broken by five decades of war, displaced populations and and immense suffering.'

The recognition also means, 'a tribute to the courage and perseverance of President Santos and all those who, day by day, step by step, built a peace to heal the wounds of the country, its families and its communities,' she added.

The head of UNESCO said that the Nobel prize is a message of hope and an invitation to all to renew the commitment to peace.

'UNESCO remains together with the people of Colombia and is more determined than ever to support all Colombians in the path they have taken,' she concluded.

The announcement comes a few days after a referendum in Colombia in which the peace agreement between the government and the FARC-EP was rejected by a narrow margin.

After the negative result, the parties involved, expressed the resolve to continue working for the end of the conflict, a position supported by many countries and international organizations.

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UNESCO Receives Exhibit of Cuban Illiteracy Campaign in 1961

Paris, Sep 16.- Concerning the activities in the UNESCO for the World Day of Literacy, Cuba showed an exhibition on the Literacy Campaign that constituted the base of its current educational system, reported Cuban ambassadress Dulce Buergo. Titled 'Education: Right of the People, Essential Tool Development', the sample exhibited photos, texts and diverse materials on the efforts at the beginning of the Revolution to teach to read and write the population, what allowed to declare Cuba a free country from illiteracy, in 1961.

Buergo, ambassadress of Cuba before UNESCO, said that the exhibition proposed the public a trip on those years in which 'the historical prowess of eradicating the illiteracy in less than one year and creating the conditions to guarantee the universal and free education in all the educational levels, was obtained'.

In statements to Prensa Latina, the diplomatic representative added that 'there was clearly the scope of this social project, carried out by the young people, of families of different social classes, which meant a real attack with pencils, notebooks and books, extended to everywhere and everyone in the island'.

The exhibit created a great interest among participants in the Day on Literacy, and presented the uniform, the notebook and the manual used by the brigade members for teaching.

Cuban Education Minister Ena Elsa Velazquez participated in the sample opening and exchanged with several participants on the experience of Cuba, also emphasizing the importance and the need for a political will to foster the objectives.

According to Buergo the sample was an excellent chance to celebrate 'the 55th anniversary of such a great social work as the Cuban Revolution is, the Campaign, its historical and social impact, which deserves to be always remembered, and transmitted to the future generations.'

The same way, the event was also 'a tribute to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, in his 90th birthday.'

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