International design competition launched for slavery memorial

Ceremony for the signing of a Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding

Thursday this week saw the signing of a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding to launch the international design competition for the Permanent Memorial at the United Nations to honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

In an effort to acknowledge the tragedy of slavery, racial prejudice and the lingering consequences of the centuries-long enslavement of and trade in Africans supplied to the colonies of the Americas and beyond, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in December 2007 entitled: Permanent Memorial to and Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

At Thursday's launch, Jamaica's representative Ambassador Raymond Wolfe noted that it was a long journey that lasted approximately four years. He said the three main parties to the Memorandum of Understanding are the Permanent Memorial Committee, the UN Office for Partnerships and UNESCO.

Wolfe: The launch of the international design competition will enhance knowledge and awareness about the project globally, as well as propel us towards the commencement of the process beginning with the search for qualified artists, sculptors and designers, leading up to the selection of a winner and the actual construction of the monument. The conclusion of the tripartite MoU with UNESCO therefore places on us a new trajectory towards the realization of these objectives.

NAR: And the representative of Barbados Ambassador Joseph Goddard, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community-CARICOM noted that since the adoption of the General Assembly resolution in 2007, progress has been slow but steady.

Goddard: Ongoing efforts to engage with the African and Caribbean Diaspora, as well as other members of the international community, particularly with the corporate sector, philanthropists, and private citizens will continue. Our immediate needs are two-fold: to spread the word of the initiative and its objectives, and to raise the necessary funding. In this regard, CARICOM encourages participants in today's proceedings to play a part in supporting these objectives.

NAR: Ambassador Goddard said CARICOM is of the view that UNESCO is the logical choice as the implementing agency for the competition, given its expertise in educational and cultural matters; its in-depth knowledge garnered through the Slave Route Project; and its extensive experience in the organisation of international competitions.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 2’33″

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