A permanent memorial will be erected at the United Nations headquarters in New York to memorialize the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.
Ali Moussa Iye, head of culture and dialogue at the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) made the announcement last Monday at the opening of The Harriet Tubman Centre Summer Institute at York University.
The theme of the one-week event is Slavery, Memory and Citizenship.
Iye said artists and designers from the around the world will be invited to submit applications and the top 16 will be chosen to enter the competition.
“This is going to be a very symbolic landmark and it will show what we have always said and that is slavery was not just an African tragedy but one that affected the whole of humanity,” said Iye on the eve of International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition which was marked on August 23.
“Having a memorial at the UN in New York will reflect and celebrate that and it’s our hope that something beneficial, future-oriented, attractive and very modern will be built.”
This year’s Summer Institute focuses on the connections between historic and contemporary slavery, the ways in which the institution is remembered and its implications for claims for complete citizenship.
“This is an important occasion as we come together to share and disseminate new knowledge that would lead to a better understanding of the causes and consequences of slavery and its impact on society today while addressing other critical social issues such as racism and discrimination,” said Robert Hache, York University’s vice-president of research and innovation.
“The UNESCO Slave Route Project is a proud example of how we can mobilize knowledge to foster debate, promote educational opportunities and raise awareness of slavery and the slave trade. Here at York, we are proud of our strong tradition of excellence in inter-disciplinary and innovative research of which the Tubman Institute is a shining example. At this institute, there are researchers and affiliates whose expertise span across multiple fields of research, including the fine arts, business, social services, humanities and other areas.”
The Harriet Tubman Centre supports the research needs of African Diaspora scholars and promotes a greater understanding of the history of slavery and its legacy by collecting and making accessible primary and secondary material related to the forced and voluntary migrations of African peoples around the world.