World Heritage Youth Forum (1999) and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Dakar-Gorée, Sénégal
23-27 August 1999

Objectives

The World Heritage Youth Forum and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

By mobilizing the youth from different schools all around the world, UNESCO desired, through the Associated Schools Network to

  • sensitize young people to the World heritage preservation;
  • increase knowledge of the young people on a painful chapter of the human history that the Transatlantic Slave Trade represents
  • "Break the silence" around this tragedy and to give it a place in the school programs;
  • Obtain an engagement from the young on the two subjects that are the World Heritage and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Knowing the past young people can better understand the present and prepare the future. UNESCO has also set as a goal not to feed bitterness nor forget the past, but to increase the knowledge and to teach young people to forgive.

The teachers got to known with the new pedagogic Kit published by UNESCO "the World Heritage in Young Hands: Know, Cherish and Act" as well as a Kit on the Slave Trade "Breaking the Silence".

Declaration of the Youth


We, the young people of the World, gathered at the World Heritage Youth Forum and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, held at Dakar-Gorée, Senegal, from 23 to 27 August 1999, believe that:

The workshops permitted the participants to initiate with dance,  painting, information technology, theater and communication, but they especially made the youth to realize all the aspects of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the tragic history of Africa.
The Young confirmed their refuse to forget this past, as well as their will to forgive and to construct a future based on mutual respect and solidarity between nations and people.

We, the Young people of the world; take the responsibility to fight for the preservation of cultural and natural heritage of all people and all nations, in order to preserve and transmit it to the future generations.

We consider that, aside the important task of preservation, we must valuate and cherish the World Heritage. It is not only a symbol of the richness of people, but a confirmation of their cultural identity.

The message of the Youth of the 4th Forum, in Dakar, was addressed to UNESCO, to all member states and to all persons worried about the development of nations, in peace and harmony between people, in the continuously better world liberated of the injustices.

Teachers' Declaration

The young people of the African, European and American continents met between 22nd and 26th of August in Dakar and in Goree, in the "World Heritage Youth Forum and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade".

At this occasion, we, coordinators of projects and teachers of the young students, who took part in the Forum:

  • consider, following the different communications we have seen, that the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade has caused damage to Africa, especially to its economic, politic and social structures;
  • observe that it has contributed, by the transfer of African populations and their dissemination to different places on the earth, to connect populations;
  • consider that the true history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade is not familiar to the most of the people;
  • consider that the cultural and natural heritage of people is continuously degrading;
  • consider that heritage is the best symbol of confirmation of cultural identity of a people;
  • consider that this heritage is also a source of richness for cultures;

We demand collectivities to:

1° return the historic truth in order to break the wall of silence surrounding the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade with the principal objective to find a mutual understanding between the people;

2° to realize the unity of people who open their doors in order to build a new world

  • we ask everybody to contribute efficiently to the elimination of the differences between the people with the aim of making the world a better place, free of all injustice;
  • attract everybody's attention to the necessity of becoming a guardian of World Heritage, a joy of all free human beings;
  • invite the authorities of all the countries in the world to introduce, if it hasn't been done already in the school curriculum, teaching and learning of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and World Heritage, in order to allow young generations to learn more about the importance of the World Heritage of which they are the future protectors, and especially to understand better the real reasons and the consequences of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade;
  • as a result, we consider that it is necessary to prepare teaching material about the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade so as to facilitate the updating of the pedagogic approaches which can, at first, be made through a direct collaboration between the associated schools, museums and scientist;
  • we ask to create a national, and afterwards regional, network for changing our respective experiences, this would serve as a transition towards a universal civilization.

Result

The Forum was a crossroad of exchange between the young. This made an intercultural dialogue, based on a mutual respect and solidarity between people, possible.

For the teachers the Forum offered an opportunity to

  • change their experiences on the World Heritage Education and ameliorating teaching on the Slave Trade;
  • get training on the use of the World Heritage Education Kit;
  • make propositions for the development of the Slave Trade project as well as of the World Heritage youth project

Participants and observers

108 participants and observers of which
104 students and teachers from  Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cap Verde, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Chad, Togo, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad Barbados, Curacao, Portugal, France, Norway, Denmark, Brazil, Cuba, St Croix, Jamaica, Reunion, Senegal.
4 Observers: Mme Ligia Coota Leite (Brazil), M Naimi (Morocco), M Radoine (IFRAN Morocco), M Poudroux (Reunion).

Organizers

National Commission of Senegal for UNESCO;
Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD);
UNESCO ASP;
UNESCO WHC;
Ministry of Youth;
Ministry of Culture;
Ministry of Environment;
IFAN museum;
Senegalese Federation of the UNESCO Clubs.

Countries represented

Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cap Verde, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Chad, Togo, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad Barbados, Curacao, Portugal, France, Norway, Denmark, Brazil, Cuba, St Croix, Jamaica, Reunion, Senegal

Experts

Le professor Hilary Macdonald Beckles, Pro-vice Chancellor, University of WEST Indies (Jamaica); Professor Emmannuel Buteau, Director, Collège les Normaliens Réunis (Haiti); Professor Jean-Michel Deveau, Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis (France) ; Mme Marie Hareide, Secretary-General of the Norvegian National Commission for UNESCO (Norway); Professor Akosua Perbi, University of Ghana (Ghana); Professor Joël Rufino dos Santos, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); Professor Elysée Soumoni, Université Nationale de Bénin (Benin), M George Tyson, President of the Sainte Croix Landmark Society (Virgin Islands U.S.A.) and Professor Jean Claude William, President, Université des Antilles et de la Guyane (Martinique).