The Director-General participates in the commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the North Atlantic Slave Trade in Ghana (15-16 February 2007)

The Director-General participates in the commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the North Atlantic Slave Trade in Ghana (15-16 February 2007)
  • © UNESCO/C. Duvelle

At the invitation of the Government of Ghana, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, paid an official visit to the Republic of Ghana from 15 to 16 February 2007.

The main purpose of the visit was to strengthen bilateral cooperation and to participate in the commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition, by the United Kingdom, of the North Atlantic Slave Trade.

In the presence of Mr Papa Owosu Ankomah, Minister of Education, Science and Sport and Chairman of the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Diaspora, Mr S. K. Boafo, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, and the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr John Prescott, the Director-General delivered his address to the Sub-regional Ministerial Seminar on Slave Trade and Slavery in West Africa. He stated that “the commemoration of the 2007 bicentenary and the Joseph Project offer a great opportunity for African countries to share their knowledge and experience, and to help forge, on the basis of their common past, new paths for the future”. “It is my sincere hope that this sub-regional seminar will also contribute to essential issues such as the mapping of slave sites in West Africa, the establishment of a network of West African Museums specialized in the slave trade and slavery, and the development of remembrance tourism in the sub-region. We are confident that the numerous initiatives undertaken in follow-up to this meeting will contribute to “breaking the silence” surrounding the slave trade, and strengthening our common memory. This constitutes an essential step towards enabling the great African continent to realize its full potential in the contemporary world,” he added.

The Director-General also participated in the Groundbreaking Ceremony on the site selected for the Slave Trade monument by the Government of Ghana, the inauguration of the Ussher Fort after its rehabilitation and transformation into a Museum dedicated to the Memory of the Slave Trade, and in the opening session of a sub-regional Colloquium on ‘Water and Culture: Implications for Peace and Development’.

During this visit, the Director-General paid a courtesy visit to Mr E. Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Vice-President of Ghana, given that President Kufuor was out of the country. After congratulating the government and the people of Ghana for the election of President Kufuor as the current chairman of the African Union, Mr Matsuura also expressed his satisfaction for the celebration of Ghana jubilee this year. Raising issues of mutual cooperation between UNESCO and Ghana, the Director-General underlined that Ghana is participating in the first round of the high priority UNESCO initiative on Teacher Training Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (TTISSA). Issues relating to culture of peace in the sub-region, Education for All, capacity-building, the fight against AIDS and poverty reduction were also discussed. Mr Matsuura expressed his satisfaction with the bilateral cooperation between Ghana and UNESCO and thanked the Government for the support that it is providing to the UNESCO office in Accra.

Additionally, the Director-General held a working session with the Ghanaian Ministers in charge of Education, Culture, Science and Communication.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 026-2007
  • 23-02-2007
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