The UNESCO National Scientific Slave Route Project is part of a global initiative of UNESCO which seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the causes, forms of operation, issues and consequences of slavery in the world (Africa, Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, Middle East and Asia).
This project launched in 1994 continues to create opportunities to promote mutual understanding, international reconciliation and stability, through consultation and discussion, raise awareness, promote debate and help build consensus on approaches to be taken on addressing the issue of the slave trade and slavery.
The International Committee identified five closely linked programs areas where attention should be focused to best achieve the objectives. These strands or pillars are:
- a scientific research program based on an extensive network of institutions and specialist around the world;
- an educational and academic program supported by a worldwide UNESCO network of more than 7900 Associated Schools and designed to encourage education specialist to incorporate this tragedy into formal and non-formal curricula;
- a program on the contribution of the African Diaspora and the promotion of the living cultures and the artistic and spiritual expressions of the interactions resulting from the slave trade and slavery;
- a program on the collection and preservation of written archives and oral traditions related to the slave trade;
- a program on the identification and preservation of the tangible and intangible heritages related to the slave trade and slavery, in particular, the promotion of the program on tourism memory
To this end the National Committee of St. Kitts and Nevis formed under the umbrella of the UNESCO Secretariat has convened a number of activities commencing with an Official Launch of the Project.
St. Kitts-Nevis National Committee Chairperson Dr Ken Ballentyne asserts that the committee’s plans, tie in very well with the Global objectives of the Slave Route Project; “The activities that we will engage in the Federation are:
- Lecture Series and Consultations with the public
- Research and Documentation –
- Inventory of Slave Sites in St. Kitts and Nevis and the Production of a Cultural Tourism Map
- Production of Pedagogic Booklets (Local Black History/Slavery) Booklet
- Launch & Teacher-Training Workshops
‘The lecture series and consultations in particular will help to remind persons of how far we’ve come as a people, and how much we have to be proud of. Slavery was a period of our history which our ancestors overcame, otherwise we wouldn’t be here, we shouldn’t forget that and we should continue to teach it to our children in such a way that they can feel proud rather than ashamed.”
“Through the research and documentation we hope to be able to identify and mark as many sites as possible, this could add to the tourism product of the
Federation as these would become places of interest for visitors and locals alike. The work on producing resources for teachers to include in the curriculum will undoubtedly aid in generating interest in our young people in their history and should also revitalize in the youth a sense of connectedness to the past.”
Activities commence with the Launch of the Project on Tuesday 19th July 2011 at the UWI centre. Other activities will be announced following the launch.