UNESCO

Nourishing odyssey

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Dear Lizzie,

Back from odyssey thru d ancient Americas, found source of luck of d Irish. Knowledge of 1000s of varieties of corn n potatoes, developed by Incas, and millennia-old methods of use n prep devised by Mayans r now stored on my hips – intangible heritage evolved into tangible proportions. Letters To Lizzie back on track. 2 b released soon. Order now! More …
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Use Memory of the World resource to transform education curriculum

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Remarks, Dr Kris Rampersad,
Chair, Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO at the Opening of UNESCO Pan-Caribbean Consultative Workshop on Memory of the World
Port of Spain, Trinidad, 25-27 September 2013
On behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO welcome to this Pan Caribbean consultative workshop on UNESCO Memory of the World initiative. While we are a national commission with essentially a national mandate, we also take very seriously our role as a member of the Caribbean community and the wider UNESCO region of Latin America and the Caribbean.
As we mark this year the 21st anniversary of the Memory of the World programme and 13th anniversary of the Memory of the World Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, it is perhaps timely for us to reflect on where we have reached with the programme.
In the short 13 years since, eight countries from the Commonwealth Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia, St Kitts, Jamaica, Guyana, Dominica, Barbados, and the Bahamas) have inscribed 21 collections of documentary heritage on the International Memory of the World Register and twenty five collections on the Regional Register.
We tend to think of the University of the West Indies and Cricket as two main elements I am sure you will agree that this has offered us an opportunity to collaborate as a region in the 13 joint nominations submitted among several of our countries – and these by four national committees in Barbados, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and certainly I want to particularly recognise the work of the Trinidad and Tobago National Memory of the World Committee under the stewardship of Mrs Joan Osborne.
But much work still to be done in public engagement and to draw out private collectors and archivists to present their work for consideration so we can have broad representation of the diversity of cultures, languages and heritage.
Last year’s meeting underscored the need for greater involvement by countries in the Caribbean, and to support each other. Through the work of the Trinidad and Tobago national memory of the world committee we have enlisted:
—  The Derek Walcott Collection
—  The Eric Williams Collection
—  The C.L.R. James Collection
—  Registry of Slaves of the British Caribbean
—  Records of Indian Indentured Labourersof Trinidad and Tobago
—  The Constantine Collection
—  The Donald ‘Jackie’ Hinkson Collection
—  The Carlisle Chang Collection
—  The Digital Pan Archive
—  Records of Indian Indentured Labourers of Trinidad and Tobago 1845-1917
—  The Samuel Selvon Collection
At the MOWLAC meeting in Port of Spain 2012 the concern was raised of the involvement of countries in the region in the programme and how to encourage the creation of national committees and the number of nominations coming from the region. It was found that there was greater need for collaboration since in some countries the MOW programme was not visible and professionals and owners of collections did not know how to complete the nomination forms.
We should also recognise that much of the critical documentary heritage reside not only within the region but also in internationally-based institutions.
We hope this workshop will meet with similar success of preceding workshops in which nine inscriptions followed the 2009 workshop in Barbados, for example.
We note among the objectives of this is to strengthen the memory of the world programme through greater awareness, to increase nominations at the national, regional and international levels; and to develop an action agenda and a CARICOM MOW action plan for 2013- 2015.
I suggest that among the latter you also take a look at the current draft CARICOM-UNESCO memorandum of agreement and suggest any alternations you may need to make to the text relevant to accommodate the region’s outlook for the memory of the world programme within that MOU to be signed between Caricom and UNESCO at the General Assembly in November.
We know there are many, many areas in which we need to focus the heritage and I’d like to also stir attention away from the printed heritage which we all know limits us to the last few hundred years to other elements of record also recognised by the memory of the world register – to also consider other forms of documentation – items on stone, craft, recordings, visuals.
As we know, UNESCO established the Memory of the World Programme in 1992 from a growing awareness of the poor state of preservation of, and access to, documentary heritage in various parts of the world – looting and dispersal, illegal trading, destruction, inadequate housing and funding have all played a part. Much has vanished forever; much is endangered. So a core element is to raise public awareness and mobilise communities to capture and preserve and promote respect and understanding.
In the region, we need to move quickly to secure our endangered archives – and I draw attention to the invaluable collections of the military history museum in Chaguaramas that contains information on the connections between our islands and South America, unrecorded elsewhere, and which can further expand  the recent inscriptions by Cuba of the  Life and Works of Ernesto Che Guevara, and Columbia’s of Francisco De Miranda and Simon Bolivar and it may be useful to supplement that with the archives of Mr Gaylord Kelshall of the Military History Museum who has researched and written extensively about this period which though recent, has still not been injected into teachings on our history and as the Minister of Education is here with us I’d like to recommend that we look at this immense UNESCO resource and work to revising the materials in the school curriculum – in history, social studies, civics, visual and performing arts, among others. This presents us with an opportunity to revise our textbooks using new research and information s there is need to establish critical synergies between archiving and education soWebiste is not just fossilised – and consider utilising this model of engagement between ministry of education, archive and library and the school system.
I’d also like to suggest that you consider how we may establish a facility to resource and fund acquisition and maintenance of public and private collections: like those of the Chaguaramas Military History Museum, and dozens of others in private collections and establish linkages with these.

And we also need to place some emphasis on capture yet undocumented heritage and utilise digitisation and engage the enthusiasm of our young people to collate data from disappearing knowledge holders.

Inventorying Intangible cultural heritage in Belize for UNESCO

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http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/news/Inventorying-of-living-heritage-presses-on-in-Belize-00059

Inventorying of living heritage presses on in Belize

Torito Dance during the tradition of Carnaval, Caledonia Village, Corozal District

30 September 2013 – Having begun the development of its cultural policy and conducted a workshop on the implementation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage at the national level, Belize presses on with fundamental steps in the inventorying of its living heritage.

A national workshop on community-based inventorying of intangible cultural heritage will assemble various stakeholders including government officials, non-governmental organizations and community practitioners in the Orange Walk district of Belize, from 1 to 9 October 2013, with the primary aim to develop and implement a framework for the inventory of its intangible cultural heritage.
Organized by the National Institute of Culture and History in collaboration with the Belize National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean, this workshop is a stepping stone in the safeguarding of the living heritage of Belize. It will focus on community participation in the identification and inventorying of intangible cultural heritage, data collection, organization and management, and hands-on experience in preparing field work, to be reinforced with pilot inventories early next year.
Funded by the Government of Japan, the workshop is part of a sub-regional project being implemented in Belize, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago within the context of UNESCO’s global strategy on capacity building to safeguard intangible cultural heritage. It will be facilitated by UNESCO trained experts Harriet Deacon and Kris Rampersad.

Monumental legacy in the Chaguaramas Military History Museum

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The news of the pending eviction of the Chaguaramas Military History Museum by the Chaguaramas Development Authority is a mere reflection of the continued mindless approach to heritage and development. Is there any interest in integrated development, and to understand that one needs not be done at  the expense of the other and each can rather enhance benefits to all concern? Without a national vision for heritage that are integrated into development plans we will continue to have this kind of idiocy cropping up.
The Military History Museum is a national treasure and represent the invaluable work of an individual and his supporters and that that individual no longer has the energy to fight for it does not mean it should be raised. It is one of the few real substantial heritage institutions that exists in its own right in T&T, struggling and succeeding where better resourced national museums are dismally deficient. They can well take a page out of the kind of commitment it takes to sustaining an institution like this.The Chaguramas Development Authority will do well to note that its current location makes it ideal for inttegrating it into its upgrade plans for the district, apart form the fact of the historic-on-several fronts district of Chaguaramas which speak to our existence from prehistory, through colonialism, independence and beyond, is iconic as part of marine, underwater, built, natural, political, social and historical evolution, and really, a boardwalk (!!??, and the Chaguaramas Development Authority’s development (!!??)  plans??? And where does that coincide or depart from “national” development plans?
Gaylord Kelshall is a decorated national hero, who even wthout the decorations, and his history in the navy has through his work at the museum, the model club, outdoor war game activities and others has been an inspiration to many young and old. The hobby club actively gave participants an outlet for any trigger-happiness in a craetive, constructive and safe manner that the millions misdirected funding in being poured into short sighted projects in South East POS could do well to learn from on how to effectively empower young people into constructive activties.
I sat at Kelshall’s feet many times as a young reporter, initiating the Discover Trinidad and Tobago series which later also inspired AVM Television’s winning series Cross Country and my writigns of this series, as he filled the blanks in my knowledge of local history and connections that neither primary, nor secondary not tertiary level education provided then, nor now.
In editing and writing the introduction to his book, The Gateway To South America (http://openlibrary.org/books/OL23185567M/The_gateway_to_South_America), how humbled I felt, and priviliged to be so close to knowledge of the pivotal role Trinidad played in the revolutionar movements towards Independence of so many of the countries of Latin America and how the South American heroes as Simon Bolivar and others were as much ours as theirs – an element that is glarngly absense in our education system. It was knowledge that, categorically, no one else holds! CDA should be looking to capture that rather than start a new war.
As his health fails, the knowledge Kelshall has projected and transferred into the museum is an irreplaceable legacy. The CDA should  see the Chaguaramas Military History Museum as a monument to this exemplary citizen as well as the story of not only the Trinidad and Tobago and the region, not try to tuck it out of site.
 
see https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal
CDA moves to evict Military Museum: Founders want $25m to move | The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper

Caricom must use UNESCO agreement to leverage Caribbean cultural heritage

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CARICOM should take advantage of the current renewal of its memorandum of agreement with UNESCO to review and table collaborations and cooperation that are relevant to the region, heritage educator and consultant Dr Kris Rampersad urged yesterday (Friday).
Speaking at the close of a workshop she co-facilitated in Kingston, Jamaica yesterday, Rampersad said the institutions, communities and NGOs in the region should also take an interest in the negotiations on the MOU to ensure that Caribbean priorities and interests are represented in ways that can bring optimal benefits to our societies.
“In the workshop we addressed several contemporary obstacles and challenges to advancing the process of leveraging the region’s vast cultural heritage resources locally, regionally and internationally, and several mechanisms which CARICOM can itself strengthen, including through using international instruments as the UNESCO conventions and such cooperative mechanisms as the MOU.

“It would be a major oversight if the region signs the draft agreement which is an exact replica of one signed a decade ago between CARICOM and UNESCO without taking into consideration changes in the situation and environment over that period. Participants and institutions should now use this knowledge to inform their government on how CARICOM may be directed to better serve the region’s interests.   It is not enough to just complain about how institutions like CARICOM’s ineffectiveness but to find ways of instructing and informing it on how it can better serve the interests of the countries it represents.”
Caption: Heritage facilitator Kris Rampersad and participant in the workshop on Intangible Cultural Heritage Bunny Wailer shows his certificate in Kingston Jamaica

2nd National Workshop on Intangible Cultural Heritage

Participants in the 8 day workshop

Participants in the 8 day workshop
A second national workshop on community based inventorying of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is in progress, having been organised by the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica / Jamaica Memory Bank in collaboration with the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean.
The workshop runs from September 4th to 13th at the Hotel Four Seasons in Kingston. The opening ceremony was held on September 4th at 9 a.m.
(L-R) Mr. Robert Parau, Mr. Joseph Pereira, Ms. Anne Marie Bonner and Hon. Lisa Hanna

(L-R) Mr. Robert Parau, Mr. Joseph Pereira, Ms. Anne Marie Bonner and Hon. Lisa Hanna
Funded by the Government of Japan, the workshop is part of a sub-regional project being implemented in Belize, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago within the context of UNESCO’s Global Strategy on capacity building on safeguarding intangible cultural heritage.
“This is the 10th anniversary of the Convention and I want to commend the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica / Jamaica Memory Bank and UNESCO for spearheading this strategy workshop in Jamaica,” commented Mr. Robert Parau, Officer in Charge at the UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean.
Mr. Robert Parau, Officer in Charge of the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean gave his address at the opening ceremony

Mr. Robert Parau, Officer in Charge of the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean gave his address at the opening ceremony
In his address, Counsellor/Deputy Chief of Mission at the Japan Embassy, Mr. Koji Tomita expressed that ICH plays a central role in the Japanese culture and a workshop of this nature is necessary to strengthen Jamaica’s heritage in light of rapid social change and economic stress. He further stated that the workshop will lay the groundwork for future generations and lays the framework to protect our traditions and creativity.
Mr. Tomita also gave his address at the opening ceremony

Mr. Tomita also gave his address at the opening ceremony
The workshop is being facilitated by two international experts, Dr. Harriet Deacon and Dr. Kris Rampersad. Focus will be placed on a) community involvement in identifying and inventorying in accordance with/as advocated by the UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage Convention; b) information gathering with communities; c) organising, accessing and updating information in inventories and d) a hands on experience in preparing field work.
website: https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal

Take back communities from so-called leaders

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Take back schools and communities from so-called community leaders, chair of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO, Dr Kris Rampersad told educators last week.

She was addressing the closing ceremony of a joint initiative by UNESCO and the Ministry of Education in Port of Spain for pilot training of some 125 principals, school supervisors and teachers.

kris_rampersad2.jpg
Dr Kris Rampersad, Chair of Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO

“For too long our children have been kidnapped and our society has been hijacked and held to ransom by bandits and criminals who are held up as community leaders and to whom, tragically, the society now seems to be turning for advice to address the very problems they create. You are the community leaders,” Rampersad told the graduates, before they were presented certificates of completion of the course, Leading for Literacy Now!

“For too long the schoolmaster and mistress who were once significant and pivotal axes of social life in our villages and districts, have either abdicated their roles as leaders or been forced out of them by other social pressures,” she continued.

The educators participated in a pilot training in leadership skills training towards improving literacy levels beginning with primary schools with special focus on teachers of Infant I and II. A national call was made by the Commission through the Education Ministry and the participants were selected from voluntary applicants.

“For too long we have been held to ransom by bandits and criminals in the guise of leaders and social and community leaders. We ask you now to go back and reclaim those spaces; to see yourself and to present and represent yourselves as the leaders that you are. To put your hands up proudly when there are calls for meetings and discussions and consultations with community leaders and say that you are leaders in your community. We ask you that you return to your schools to no longer cower before bullying parents and misguided children and take charge!” Rampersad said.

She noted that the course has helped equip and tool principals and teachers to return to the new school term with fresh perspectives and approaches to face some of the challenges they may confront.

The exercise was conducted by facilitators from the UK-based National Training College for School Leadership with financial and other technical support from UNESCO, the Ministry of Education, the National Commission, BMobile and the Army Leadership Training Centre of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment.

“We ask you to use what you have learnt here to not just influence but to transform the directions of our education system and by extension our society as well,” Rampersad urged, noting a growing nervousness in the society enveloped in a wind of change that is causing considerable restless and which requires solid management of the processes of change and transformation.

Acknowledging that the problems facing educators are many, and not insignificant, she challenged the trainees to take their learning back to school and expressed the hope to see positive results by as early as the end of the first term – by December 2013.

“Three months is a very long time in the life of a child, and we know how much they can learn in short a short period. We need to capture their minds and imaginations before someone else does,” Rampersad pointed out.

She said the participants will be engaged in continuous assessment and will share their experiences and recommendations for expanding the programme to all schools and districts of Trinidad and Tobago, adding that commitment for such support has already been expressed by the Ministry of Education.

“We do not deny that the challenges are many and these times demand all our energies and intelligence to manage the changes that are inevitable. We have to ensure that such management occurs and we do not have the negative repercussions as we are witnessing taking place in Egypt and Syria and elsewhere. Let us manage and redirect the changes that are inevitable, drawing from your wisdom and experiences to positively impact our youth and harness their restless energies for change,” Rampersad said. “It will require open-mindedness, flexibility and a lot of patience.”

She also noted that, once the expected results are realised, the Commission hopes to be able to hold up Leading for Literacy Now this as a model project to UNESCO to share with the Caribbean and its global community.

https://sites.google.com/site/krisrampersadglobal
 http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Take-back-communities-from-so-called-leaders%2C-says-Trinidad-UNESCO-chair-17393.html

Let’s take back our comunities from so-called community leaders

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Closing Remarks, Dr Kris Rampersad Chair, National Commission for UNESCO,  at
Leading for Literacy Now! National Workshop for Principals and Teachers
Sister Francis Xavier Heritage Hall, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain
August 25 2013

One of the advantages in living in a place like Trinidad and Tobago is that we have easy access and exposure to the good books of the many and varied cultures, ethnicities and religions that make up our society.
One of our good books tells us that the world was created in six days.
Mrs Elizabeth Crouch, Principal of Marina Regina Prep School and head of the education sector committee of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO lead principals, school supervisors and teachers in the joint UNESCO/Ministry of Education initiative Leading for Literacy Now!
We have come to the sixth day of this our week-long efforts to begin to recreate and transforming our world, the communities and the spaces and the schools we occupy, as Leaders for Literacy, Now!
Do we feel more empowered? Do we feel better prepared and better tooled? We, of the National Commission for UNESCO of Trinidad and Tobago, and our project partners, the Ministry of Education, BMobile and the UK-Based National Training College for School Leadership and the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment hope that we have met and fulfilled some of those expectations that we outlined at the beginning of this week and when this training preparation began with you earlier this year and with us since last year.
We thank you for investing your time and energies and visions with us, and now we have some expectations of our own. We want results and returns on this investment – not just the more than half a million dollars UNESCO and the Ministry of Education with our project partners are investing in this, but also in the energies and ideas we have shared and exchanged.
We well recognise that many of you function under very challenge personal and professional situations. We well recognise that the tasks with which you are charged as principals and teachers are by no means easy. We well recognise that sometimes the diversity of our society demands constant readjustments to varying expectations.
But we want to challenge you now to go forth and reclaim your places as bonafide community leaders. For too long the term, and the role of leaders in our communities have been hijacked by not too savoury elements who are being held up as the role models for our youths and children. For too long we have watched our children being kidnapped by forces and influences that we wanted to think were beyond our control. For too long the schoolmaster and mistress who were once significant and pivotal axes of social life in our villages and districts, have either abdicated their roles or been forced out of them by other social pressures. For too long we have been held to ransom by bandits and criminals in the guise of leaders and social and community leaders.
We ask you now to go back and reclaim those spaces; to see yourself and to present and represent yourselves as the leaders that you are. To put your hands up proudly when there are calls for meetings and discussions and consultations with community leaders and say that you are leaders in your community.
We ask you that you return to your schools to no longer cower before bullying parents and misguided children and take charge!
We ask you to use what you have learnt here to, as I said at the opening, not just influence the directions of our education system and by extension of our society, but to transform it.
You are the community leaders. You are agents of change and transformation.
It is no secret that we live in not just interesting, as Confucius is said to have said, but also in challenging times; times that demand all our energies and intelligence to manage the winds of change that are blowing and that all of us are feeling in our schools and in our districts. We need to manage these changing times so we do not have the negative repercussions as we are witnessing taking place in Egypt and Syria and elsewhere. We need to direct and redirect the changes that are inevitable, drawing from your own wisdom and experiences to positively impact our youth and harness their restless energies for change.
It certainly will require a few qualities that cannot be learnt in a classroom – open-mindedness, flexibility, and patience – but we do hope that this classroom has provided you with some formulas by which you can assess and understand how to acquire and cull those qualities.
As the same good book said, on the seventh, the Creator rested. I don’t think that meant that for you, not for us.
Tomorrow, we go on our drill with the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment which is promising us through the Army Leadership Training Centre, a one-day outdoor team-building and risk training exercise to what you already know and have learnt of leadership.
Like us at the National Commission, the Army Leadership Training personnel recognise that this is particularly important in the dynamic environment in which you find yourself working everyday in our schools. They acknowledge your role as principal and educator as paramount in carving and manipulation this chameleon environment in which you function, in dealing with students and staff and parents from all walks of life and with varying morals, values, and social skills that require some extra special skills to help you cope with situations where the answers may either be nowhere in sight, or just under your nose; where the success of the team will not depend on the strength of any one individual or where achieving overall success may depend on the subordination of personal objectives.
So that’s the task of the seventh day, tomorrow – not to rest, but as the ones created for the task, to continue the good work to go forth and multiply these learnings into your schools and communities. To Lead for Literacy, Now!
Because we all know what the power of literacy is. We are all living examples of that – of how our ability to read and to interpret a line, a page, a book can transform how we see ourselves, how we view others and how to make informed and intelligent choices when confronted with difficult options, or no options at all. That has been my experience as a reader, from districts and schools and homes just like the ones you serve.
And it is our sense of personal responsibility that has inspired my Leaves of Life drive for a revolution in reading, to inspire reading in unorthodox ways; and it is the sense of collective responsibility that inspired Mrs Crouch and our team of the National Commission, and the Ministry of Education in planning and organising this Leading for Literacy, Now! We are building a team and I am sure too an army, for change.
We envision that in the forty schools from which you were drawn, voluntarily, we will begin to see results in learning and literacy – in the ability of our children to read as early as the end of the first term – by December, yes December 2013 – we all know that three months is a very long time in the life of a child and they can learn much in such a short space of time. Are we ready for that! We must claim their minds and imaginations before someone else does.
We also envision that from forty districts in Trinidad and Tobago, we will begin to see an impact on perceptions and beliefs of who are our real community leaders; who are really in charge; and to whom our society should turn when it needs advice and directions and leadership. You! Are we ready for that?
As we promised at the beginning, we will continue to encourage you to not only keep up the dialogue, but translate it into actions within your own spheres and share it with your peers, in other schools and districts as we assess the outcomes of this and get ready to draw in more of our principals and teachers and children as we have been mandated by the Minister of Education.
Yes, we were very serious when we titled this Leading for Literacy, Now! Let as take back our communities; let us take back our children, as leaders, Now!
I thank you.
PHOTO CAPTION: Mrs Elizabeth Crouch, Principal of Marina Regina Prep School and head of the education sector committee of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO lead principals, school supervisors and teachers in the joint UNESCO/Ministry of Education initiative Leading for Literacy Now! Photo Courtesy Kris Rampersad