Thursday, September 18, 2014

20th Anniversary Celebration of UNESCO Slave Route Project

On 10 September 2014, UNESCO celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Slave Route Project: Resistance, Liberty, Heritage.

A full day of discussion, musical interludes, and commemoration took place at La Maison de l'UNESCO, 125 avenue de Suffren, in Paris' 7th arrondissement. Highlights included a roundtable at which UNESCO’s contribution to the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) was discussed and the inauguration of the exhibition "Africans in India: from Slaves to Generals and Rulers."

Africans in India
© Discover Paris!

French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, author of the 2001 law that recognizes slavery as a crime against humanity, spoke at the closing event of the day:

The challenge today is to understand the globalization that divides people to better exploit. This globalization can be replaced by universality, one in which we meet the Other, so that the Other is not seen as a good to be sold.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira
Screenshot from YouTube video

The United States Permanent Delegation to UNESCO sponsored the evening reception. The new U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, Crystal Nix-Hines, delivered a passionate speech about the lessons to be learned from the practices of slavery in past centuries and reminded us that modern-day slavery (human trafficking and forced labor) is just as atrocious a scourge in society today.

Ambassador Crystal Nix-Hines addresses the crowd
© Discover Paris!

Ambassador Nix-Hines' husband, David Hines, then sang "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

David Hines
© Discover Paris!

Finally UNESCO Artist for Peace and spokesman for the Slave Route Project, Marcus Miller, regaled the audience with numerous artists who joined him on stage for an incredible jam session that lasted far longer than anyone anticipated.

Marcus Miller
© Discover Paris!

Jam session
© Discover Paris!

View clips of the day's activities here:

Among the achievements cited by UNESCO for the Slave Route Project is the Permanent Memorial to Honor the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the United Nations building in New York.


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