UNESCO Starts Meeting on Cultural Assets Trafficking

The fourth Meeting of State Parties to the 1970 Convention on Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property began today at the UNESCO headquarters in this capital, an issue that is cause for concern in the world.

Opening the event, UNESCO Deputy General-Director for Culture Francesco Bandarin highlighted the increasing interest in the issues related to the 1970 Convention, aimed at prohibiting and preventing illegal imports, exports and transference of cultural assets.

In that reference, he highlighted the activities carried out by that United Nations agency, with a view to training and raising awareness of the problem, and also defended creating synergies between this and other conventions in the cultural sector.

The meeting will be developing until tomorrow and they will deal with subjects as the use of the Convention fund, reviewing the rules and election of nine members of the Subsidiary Committee.

Cuba is participating in these sessions as State Party to the 1970 Convention, with a delegation led by the Cuban permanent ambassador to UNESCO, Dulce Buergo.

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UNESCO Acknowledges High Quality of Cuban Jazz Musicians

Havana, May 1 (Prensa Latina) The celebrations on the International Day of Jazz held in Cuba are an acknowledgement of the high quality of Cuban jazz musicians by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The statement was made by UNESCO General Director Irina Bokova during his visit to Havana, which also coincided with the 70th anniversary of Cuba's membership in that UN agency.

At a meeting with Culture Minister Abel Prieto, the two officials agreed that jazz sends a message of non-aggression and it is a chant to the confluence of cultures and peoples.

Bokova also confirmed that relations between Cuba and UNESCO are developing at the highest level and will continue to strengthen.

During a tour of Old Havana, Bokova lauded the restoration works being carried out by City Historian Eusebio Leal in the historic heart of the Cuban capital.

Leal, in turn, decorated Bokova with a commemorative medal granted by the City Historian's Office when a major restoration work is completed.

UNESCO Condems Syria's Cultural Destruction by Terrorists

Paris, Jan 20 (Prensa Latina) The Unesco Director-General, Irina Bokova, condemned today the destruction caused by the Islamic State of several patrimonial places in the Syrian city of Palmira, which she described as a war crime.

'This destruction is a new war crime and a huge loss for the Syrian people and humanity', said Bokova, after receiving reports and images taken by the UN Operational Satellite Applications Program, confirming the damage.

'This new strike against the cultural heritage, that we knew hours after receiving information about mass executions made in the theater, shows that the cultural cleaning carried out by violent terrorists seeks to destroy human life and historical monuments in order to deprive Syrian people of its past and its future,' regreated Bokova.

A UNESCO statement reads that the images allowed to confirm the damage caused to Tetrapillum and the Roman Theater in Palmira, a place declared Patrimony of Humanity in 1980.

Bokova stressed that 'the Tetrapillum was a architectural symbol of the spirit of encounter and openness of Palmira, and that is also one of the reasons for its destruction. Its location and shape were unique in the ancient architecture and specific symbol of the identity of the city, source of pride and dignity for all Syrians'.

In the statement, UNESCO reiterated the call 'to the entire international comunity to stand together against this cultural cleansing.'

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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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