UNESCO Celebrates Cultural Diversity in Latin America and Caribbean (+Photos)

Paris, Jun 4 (Prensa Latina) The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) welcomes the Latin American and Caribbean Week to celebrate the region''s cultural diversity, Deputy General Director Edouard Matoko said on Tuesday.

In statements to Prensa Latina, the UNESCO top official expressed satisfaction with the festivities, which started on Monday until Friday, because 'promoting all cultures of the world is a UNESCO mission'.


He underlined that Latin America and the Caribbean is a region of great cultural wealth, adding that 'that diversity is an element of cohesion and peace', as well as a fundamental part of UNESCO's own wealth in terms of knowledge and cultural exchange.


He recalled that for the fourth consecutive year, UNESCO has hosted the Week, which has become a tradition.

Matoko pointed out that the current edition is dedicated to the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and noted that many of them are native languages from Latin America and the Caribbean.


He added that there are more than 700 indigenous languages in the world and a large group of them are in danger of disappearing, so UNESCO's priority is to safeguard them.

Among the lectures is one entitled 'Restoration of Havana's Historic Heart: the Challenge of a Utopia', by the historian of the Cuban capital, Eusebio Leal, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the city this year.

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Cuba Highlights UNESCO's Role to Consolidate World Peace

Paris, Apr 9 (Prensa Latina) Cuba on Tuesday noted here the crucial role of UNESCO in the consolidation of peace, which is increasingly relevant in light of growing global threats.

The statement was made by the Cuban representative at the 206th session of the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Ambassador Oscar Leon Gonzalez, who called on member States to defend peace and settle disputes through dialogue, in strict accordance with the principles of the Organization.

In that regard, he recalled that the region of Latin America and the Caribbean is a victim of the aggressive and irresponsible attitude of the government of the United States, which implements a regime change policy against independent and sovereign States, thus violating international law and the UN Charter.

'The possibility of using military force against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is declared openly, which would bring unpredictable negative consequences for the region,' he charged.

All this challenges the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Peace Zone, signed by the heads of State and Government in Havana in 2014, Leon added.

The diplomat also condemned the tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, with more damage to its people in all spheres of society, including the UNESCO sectors.

'The extraterritorial nature of that policy and its direct impact on the interests of third countries are deepened,' he pointed out.

On the other hand, international stability and peace are indispensable conditions for the success of UNESCO's work all over the world, including the results of the ongoing reform, Leon added.

Regarding that process, he mentioned as a priority the strengthening of UNESCO in the field, 'where the Organization adopts its true value for girls, boys, youths, women and men'.

He went on to say, 'We support the efforts to equip the Organization with the necessary human and financial resources, so this year we honor again the contribution to UNESCO's budget in an early date and we make modest voluntary contributions during the current biennium'.

The ambassador also referred to the ties between Cuba and the Organization, which 'have been consolidated significantly over the past few months' by the visits to UNESCO's headquarters by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

'They held meetings with the director general (Audrey Azoulay) and reaffirmed the excellent state of bilateral relations,' he noted.

Leon recalled that 2019 marks 500 years of the foundation of Havana, one of the anniversaries to which UNESCO is associated in the current biennium and 'another opportunity to promote the imprint of this Organization in the lives of Cuban women and men.'

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UNESCO: Film on the Holocaust to Be Screened in 45 Countries

Paris, Jan 28 (Prensa Latina) Thanks to UNESCO and other institutions initiative, the documentary ''Who will write our history'' will be screened simultaneously in 45 countries to commemorate the International Day in Memory of the Holocaust Victims.

A statement details this film will be shown in some 300 cinemas, museums, UNESCO offices and UN information centres.

It is a joint project with Washington Holocaust Memorial, LA's Museum of Tolerance and Warsaw's Jewish Historical Institute.

The material, directed by U.S. filmmaker Roberta Grossman and produced by Nancy Spielberg, is the first feature film about the underground group Oneg Shabbat, formed in November 1940 in the Warsaw ghetto under the direction of historian Emanuel Ringelblum.

The group collected numerous archives and testimonies documenting life in the ghetto and the destruction of Polish Jews from 1940 to 1943, which led to the creation of the 'Ringelblum Archives', included in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 1999.

At UNESCO's Paris headquarters, the film screening will be preceded by a ceremony to be opened by the organization's Director General, Audrey Azoulay, and the President of the Shoah Memorial in France, Eric de Rothschild.

The film will be followed by a panel with Roberta Grossman, Nancy Spielberg and Professor Samuel Kassow, an American historian.

January 27 commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops in 1945, UNESCO said.

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly officially proclaimed the date as the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the Holocaust victims.

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UNESCO: Cuban Pharmaceutical Museum is 'Memory of the World'

The City of Matanzas houses a valuable collection of 19th century books on medicine manufacturing procedures.

Literature from the Pharmaceutical Museum in Matanzas, Cuba, were recognized Thursday as "Memory of the World" by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).

RELATED: Venezuela Welcomes 2,500 Cuban Doctors Leaving Brazil

The books include 61 volumes, 55 of which preserve formulas of the Ernesto Triolet's "French Botica," that was served from 1882 to 1964 in Matanzas.

"They also keep two volumes belonging to the Botica Nuestra Señora de Regla, and another four from the Farmacia San Rafael," the director of the Pharmaceutical Museum, Marcia Brito, explained.

The Matanzas Pharmaceutical Museum also preserves 19th-century images and documents, which include chemistry research papers and medicine manufacturing procedures.

The museum is built on the drugstore that Ernesto Triolet opened in 1882, once the French doctor of pharmacy decided to settle down in the island. The establishment, which served customers for 82 years, became a museum in 1964.

The most important legacies of the 19th-century pharmaceutical industry are preserved in the museum: the French school represented the works of Triolet, the Spanish school personified in Juan Fermin de Figueroa, and the U.S. school represented by Dolores de Figueroa, the first female pharmacist of Cuba.

The Memory of the World is a Unesco initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity. It calls for the preservation of valuable archival holdings, library and private individual collections.

Inscription on the Unesco collection leads to improved conservation of the documentary heritage by calling upon the program's networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for the preservation, digitization, and dissemination of the material.

"The inclusion of the Matanzas documentary fund in the 'Memory of the World Program' would guarantee its dissemination worldwide, making it possible for many people to know it, study it, and use it for the benefit of others, since it allows a rediscovery of pharmaceutical medical tasks that are beneficial for health anywhere," Brito said.

So far Cuba has 15 collections registered in the Unesco program. Among them are the Jose Marti Fund, which preserves all the paperwork of the Cuban National Hero, and the Celia Sanchez Manduley Fund, which includes documents related to the insurrection led by the late President Fidel Castro.

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Cuba to Host Interregional Workshop on Sustainable Development

 UNESCO and the Jose Marti Chairs at the University of Havana announced the Interregional Workshop on Exchange and Cooperation, a sustainable development forum scheduled for January 2019.

The event will be held from January 29 to 31 at Havana's Convention Center, with the confirmed participation of researchers and experts from Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Uruguay and Spain.

The director of UNESCO's Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, Katherine Müller, explained that the workshop's goal is to foster reciprocal collaboration between the two Chairs.

The event will help the introduction of new teaching programs and the analysis of new ideas through research and the enrichment of cultural diversity.

The official stressed that through this workshop, Higher Education and research institutions will pool their resources to advance towards meeting the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals, approved in September 2015 at the United Nations.

The importance of expanding the Cuban network of schools associated with the international organization, currently 76, through new actions to train and prepare university students will be among the subjects to be debated.

Müller also explained that the Unitwin program and the UNESCO Chairs will play a key role during the forum.

'It is an essential tool to contribute to capacity-building in higher education institutions through knowledge-sharing and international solidarity,' she said.

The Unitwin program gathers more than 700 institutions in 116 countries and supports the implementation of issues related to UNESCO's fields of competence, education, natural and social sciences, culture and communication.

Martha del Carmen Mesa, vice minister for Higher Education, told Prensa Latina that the role of the governmental agency in the growth of chairs and the advancement of projects fosters inter-university ties.

She added these networks and chairs are centers for reflection and to build bridges between academic circles, civil society, local communities and researchers.

'The Chairs Program in Cuba is an intersectoral platform and needs these opportunities to exchange experiences and acquire new practices from several countries in the region,' Mesa noted.

UNESCO recently drafted its five-year work plan for Cuba, which includes contributions on issues such as sustainable economic development, food security and environmental sustainability.

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UNESCO Nominates Pakistani 'Suri Jagek' Tradition Cultural Heritage

Pakistan''s age old Kalash ''Suri Jagek'' tradition was reportedly nominated by UNESCO to be included in its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The decision was taken during the 13th session of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee held in Mauritius, geo.tv website posted.

'Suri Jagek' (observing the sun) is a traditional meteorological and astronomical practice based on the observation of the sun, moon and stars in reference to the local topography by the Kalasha indigenous community residing in the Chitral district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, province of Pakistan.

'Suri Jagek' plays a key role for the Kalasha community in important social events such as festivals, feasts, rituals, animal husbandry and farming practices.

The Permanent Delegate of Pakistan to UNESCO and Ambassador of Pakistan to France Mr. Moin ul Haque described the nomination of the Suri Jagek tradition by UNESCO as a historical achievement and said that this tradition will be protected as part of the shared human heritage of the entire world and will continue to serve its spiritual and utilitarian purposes.

The ambassador said that the nomination of 'Suri Jagek', being Pakistan's first ever-independent nomination at this forum, was a milestone to ensure a better visibility of the rich folklore traditions and cultural diversity of the country.

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Role of Media Facing Terrorism on Debate at UNESCO

Paris, Nov 20 (Prensa Latina) The challenges of the media in dealing with terrorism will focus the debates of a Conference scheduled this Tuesday at UNESCO, the organization stated.

'Terrorism has become one of the most complex issues for the media, presenting difficult ethical questions about reporting conditions, freedom of expression and security,' a statement said.

In that scenario, the text said, 'how can journalists report dramatic and emotion-laden scenes of violence without sensationalism, without playing with the incitement to hatred of terrorists and without reinforcing divisive stereotypes?'

This and other issues will be addressed during the meeting, with the participation of media professionals, representatives of the press regulatory authorities, researchers and representatives of victim associations.

The event is organized by UNESCO and the association that we called 13onze15-Fraternite Verite. The latter is a French non-governmental organization founded after the 2015 Paris terror attacks to support the victims.

The conference will include two roundtable discussions. The first session will address on how media coverage can promote security and respect victims of terrorism.

The second session will focus on how media coverage of these issues can promote tolerance and social cohesion.

France commemorated last week the third anniversary of the November 13, 2015 attacks, in which 130 people were killed and more than 400 were injured.

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Punto Guajiro Highlighted as Humankind's Heritage

The holding of peasant clubs in different scenarios of this central province on Tuesday highlighted Cuba''s Punto Guajiro as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Controversies, tunes and improvisations delight every weekend the followers of that musical expression in Ciego de Avila, where the Punto Guajiro has great representation.

Considered an authentic sonorous genre of the nation's cultural identity, Cuba's Punto Guajiro has its origins in the years of Spanish colonization, and although it was always rooted in rural areas, it has spread to the cities today.

The poet Gualberto Dominguez, from Ciego de Avila, told Prensa Latina that every other Saturday in that territory, peasant parties are held at which groups and improvisers from the community and guests from surrounding provinces perform.

One of the most dynamic peasant music clubs is 'Maria, la Matancera', which in recent days celebrated its 10th anniversary with the participation of representatives of the genre from the provinces of Ciego de Avila and Sancti Spiritus.

Different types of Punto Cubano, tunes, son, boleros, guarachas, sucu sucu and controversies, among other expressions of popular art, enliven every peasant party in the province of Ciego de Avila.

As essential instruments, they use the guitar, the tres, the lute, the claves, the bongos and guiro, which together with the interpretation of a poet achieve high poetic level in ten-line-stanza songs.

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