Sunday, October 26, 2014

Trinidad and Tobago at UNESCO 195 in news

http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Trinidad-and-Tobago-vice-chairs-UNESCO's-programmes_external-relations-commission-23366.html
Trinidad and Tobago vice-chairs UNESCO's programmes/external relations commission
Published on October 25, 2014
PARIS, France -- Dr Kris Rampersad, Trinidad and Tobago’s representative to the UNESCO executive board, was elected unopposed as the vice-chair of UNESCO’s programmes and external services commission (PX) to the board for the second consecutive time. The PX Commission is one of two commissions of the UNESCO executive board and is charged with examining and directing UNESCO’s programmes. It is chaired by Porfirio Thierry Muñoz Ledo of Mexico.
kris_rampersad.jpg
Dr Kris Rampersad
Now chaired by Egypt’s Mohamed Sameh Amr, the 58-member executive board, currently in its 195th session in Paris, is one of three governing organs of UNESCO with the General Assembly and Secretariat. It is responsible for appraising and informing UNESCO’s work programme and budgets. This is the first year of Trinidad and Tobago’s term on the board since it was elected by the 2013 General Assembly, when it polled the highest number of votes among candidates for the Latin American and Caribbean (GRULAC) region.
Rampersad, a cultural heritage researcher, educator and multimedia journalist, is a former independent member of the consultative body of UNESCO Inter-Governmental Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage, and chair of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO.
She also serves on the advisory boards of the International Culture University and the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism, and has worked across the UN, Commonwealth and OAS regions working with multisectoral partners in civil society, government, private sector, academia and intergovernmental agencies to devise multidimensional approaches to addressing challenges of change sustainable development.
She has devised and conducted creative interactive courses, seminars and education programmes that encourage critical interrogation of development agendas to stimulate people-centred, gender and culture-sensitive paths to progress.
These include evaluations and assessments of north-south relations and particularly the small island developing states of the Caribbean in international policy arena, particularly in relation to gender, governance, culture and education at such forums as Commonwealth and OAS Summits; World Summit of Information Society; World Summit on Arts and Culture, Commonwealth Diversity Conferences, International Conferences on Cultural Policy Research, Brussels Briefings on Agriculture of the ACP-EU, among others.
Her successful pilot strategy for such round-table engagements to explore solutions towards food security was adopted as the model for the ACP-EU International Seminar on Media and Agriculture in Brussels.
Rampersad is the author of the three acclaimed seminal groundbreaking works: Finding a Place on the Indo-Trinidadian literary history of Trinidad and Tobago; Through the Political Glass Ceiling – Race to Prime Ministership by Trinidad and Tobago’s First Female and LiTTscapes – Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago which features its literary heritage through more than 100 works by more than 60 writers since 1595.
http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Trinidad-and-Tobago-vice-chairs-UNESCO's-programmes_external-relations-commission-23366.html

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Towards consensus in protecting our global heritage and legacy

Heritage can drive consensus and collaboration for sustainable development 

‘T&T world heritage status at risk

...fiddling while Rome burns, political imbroglio leaves custodians mum
Published: 
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Dr Kris Rampersad
The Banwari archeological site is not yet a world heritage site and its potential to become one is in jeopardy with “unchecked and undermanaged development initiatives.” Speaking from Paris where she is attending the meeting of the biannual Unesco executive board, heritage educator Dr Kris Rampersad said misinformation was being bandied about concerning T&T’s world heritage status. “No one, on any side, has taken the time to check the information being presented,” she said.
Rampersad, who is a Unesco-Commonwealth trained heritage facilitator and the Unesco focal point for World Heritage in T&T, told the Sunday Guardian it was unfortunate the issue is being politicised and has become something of the rope in the tug of war between the State and the Highway Re-route Movement.
“That prevents the consensus building and nation building that occurs around a country’s preparation for world heritage status. I remain flabbergasted that with the significance and potential of heritage as a core growth sector as the alternative to petroleum and our best bet for diversification, that these most valuable timeless assets and heritage, in general, remain so low on the national action agenda,” she said.
Rampersad has been blogging about what she calls “The Other Magnificent Seven of south Trinidad/South America and the Global South” and has written to President Anthony Carmona and Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar (goo.gl/Um7YkU) asking them to take the lead in securing these assets which hold enormous value for T&T’s economic diversification, its knowledge economy, and its place in our global civilisation (www.kris-rampersad-blogspot.com).
In her latest Demokrissy blog post, The Politics of Disempowerment, Rampersad noted that while she has received encouragement and agreement by various sectors, some key custodians and line agencies of heritage have gone mum because the elements in focus are in the districts earmarked for the controversial highway extension, also the home districts of the President and the Prime Minister, and they do not want to get embroiled in what may be interpreted as the hype around the highway. 
“Trustee organisations and officials just don’t want to get embroiled, so it’s a case of fiddling while Rome burns.”  That has also been the fate of a change.org petition (goo.gl/tNAwm6) in circulation on the issue, said the outspoken Rampersad, who is also an author and independent multimedia journalist.
“The fact is that neither the site, nor any of the several unique invaluable heritage elements of south Trinidad are secured in world heritage terms so as to facilitate them acquiring world heritage status as they are. “Banwari is not a world heritage site as is being claimed. It is on a tentative list which is a list that includes items states submit that they intend to prepare for such status.
“The concept being promoted of the site—the half-acre plot of where the skeleton remains were found—is itself erroneous, as a heritage site involves broader association of factors. We have not yet done the investigations nor groundwork that will consolidate the scope and value, though my preliminary independent research suggests that it is just the tip of the iceberg of more fundamental discoveries that could substantially revise how this region’s evolution and migration among others have been viewed.”
Rampersad said heritage was not a footnote in national development. “It is likely to be the lifeline to which we would have to turn in the next two decades when the oil dries up.



http://www.trinidadexpress.com/commentaries/The-price-for-progress-279732112.html?m=y&smobile=y

Shining light of cultural heritage knowledge over ignorance from UNESCO


Lord Shiva Temple in Cambodia gets Happy Divali present from UNESCO #195EX

Happy Divali from #UNESCO #Paris Where #UNESCO #195EX unanimously support UNESCO efforts in safeguarding cultural heritage of Cote d Ivoire Iraq, and other zones of conflict or heritage in danger.
Today, Divali Day, the Programme and External Affairs Commission of the UNESCO Executive Board, co-chaired by Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago also unanimously passed a resolution for establishment of an International Coordinating Committee for the Preah Vihar Temple which was subject to prolonged dispute between Cambodia and Thailand but which after a long process came to an agreement that found consensus between the two parties and was unanimously supported by the PX Commission.
Congrats to colleagues who worked on the difficult drafting and negotiation process of this and the State parties Cambodia and Thailand for this exemplary collaboration.
Temple of Preah Vijeah of Cambodia via
UNESCO World Heritage Committee

Let's also take pride in and protect ours.


Get Involved http://goo.gl/tNAwm6
Get Informed goo.gl/Um7YkU     
Get Enlightened  http://goo.gl/zUbDJy
Know more http://goo.gl/rU0DTn

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Politics of Disempowerment

The Banwari archeological site is not a World Heritage site and its potential to become such is in jeopardy with unchecked and undermanaged development initiatives.
It is unfortunate that the issue is being politicised and has become something of the rope in the tug of war impasse between the State and the highway reroute movement that prevents the consensus-building and nation-building that occurs around a country’s preparation for World Heritage status. 
I remain flabbergasted that its significance and potential as a core growth sector, as the alternative to petroleum and our best bet for diversification, that these most valuable timeless assets and heritage, in general, remain so low on the national action agenda.
While in all cases I have received encouragement by all parties to whom this has been addressed – heritage, tourism, development planners, local authorities etc that this is a direction Trinidad and Tobago wants to pursue, key custodians and line agencies have gone mum because the elements in focus are in the districts earmarked for the controversial highway extension, also the home districts of the President and the Prime Minister, and they do not want to get embroiled in what may be interpreted as the hype around the highway.  That has also been the fate of a change.org petition (goo.gl/tNAwm6) in circulation on the issue.
The fact is that neither the site, nor any of the several unique invaluable heritage elements of South Trinidad, are secured in world heritage terms so as to facilitate them acquiring world heritage status as

.For more on this article and further information email lolleaves@gmail.com

To sign the letter to the President and Prime Minister go to goo.gl/tNAwm6)

Related links:
Open Letter to President Anthony Carmona and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Impacting the Suicide Pact: Government and Activist in suicide pact, http://goo.gl/zUbDJy,

Rio Claro Through the Kristal bowl SIDS 2014 Rural Regeneration and Sustainable Development, http://goo.gl/GH5tYR,

Caricom must use UNESCO agreement to leverage Caribbean Cultural Heritage: http://goo.gl/yXwr7b

Vandalised: centuries-old heritage tomb spanning global generations, http://goo.gl/B3BYSR,

Friday, October 17, 2014

Unesco doing more with less

Budget debate unesco executive board more effective n efficient #195EX @UNESCO_ExBChair @unesco @krisramp @lolleaves

cuts from $653m to $507m hamper work

See statement on #195EX here http://www.unesco.org/new/index.php?id=123951

Monday, October 13, 2014

Impacting the suicide pact

‘Govt, activist in suicide pact’

See Link: Sinday Guardian News:

..Dr Rampersad calls on PM, Pres in her mission to protect T&T’s national heritage
Published: 
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Dr Kris Rampersad
An online petition has been started by heritage educator, author and researcher Dr Kris Rampersad as well as open letters to President Anthony Carmona and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar calling for the safeguarding of T&T’s natural heritage, the “other Magnificent Seven of the South.”
“It is something of a suicide pact if a state opens the doorway for destruction of its natural heritage without proper safeguarding as it is for an activist to embark on a fast to the death,” said the outspoken Rampersad, who refused at this time to specifically name the other Magnificent Seven given the sensitive and exclusive nature of her research.
Evidence of what may be clues to the ‘missing links’ in the story of human history and evolution may lie in south Trinidad are in danger of disappearing by negative development actions, she said. Rampersad has been piecing together the comparative pre-and post-colonial heritage of T&T in the context of the Caribbean, South America and its global connections. 
She is also the T&T representative on the Unesco Executive Board in Paris and chair of the National Commission for Unesco. An independent multimedia journalist, Rampersad is also a Unesco/Commonwealth/Caribbean trained heritage educator, and member of the scientific committee of the International Culture University and the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism. 
Rampersad has written an impassioned letter in her blog Demokrissy (www.kris-rampersad.blogspot.com) to Carmona and Persad-Bissessar to safeguard these valuable heritage elements in their home districts of south Trinidad, which she calls “The Other Magnificent Seven”—of south Trinidad/South America/GlobalSouth and the globe. 
She said these efforts must be part of and contribute to a holistic approach to reviewing and revising misrepresentations of the islands in national symbols as the Coat of Arms and the National Anthem. The open letter calls on the President and Prime Minister ‘to lead’ in safeguarding the endangered and neglected heritage including these valuable assets which she claims have outstanding universal value. 
The blog which is receiving the thumbs up across her extensive social media network, has inspired a Change.org petition to Carmona and Persad-Bissessar (http://goo.gl/EEzSc6) calling on them to act now, before all is lost. 
Banwari site and other Magnificent Seven of the South
Rampersad, who is the author of the first book on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Through the Political Glass Ceiling, that maps the PM’s journey from rural Trinidad to Prime Ministership from speeches, said the letter was inspired by her own impulse to act because it was the responsibility of citizens to motivate and encourage public officials to act in the best interests of the country.
She said, “While a responsible citizenry has a duty to hold officials to account, we also must take responsibility for our actions that impact how authorities may react or act. 
“There has been an increasingly hyped national environment that makes it almost impossible to recognise what is empty noise and what may be constructive criticism. “It is on us to find the tone to make the authorities listen. I hope my blog achieved that.” 
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian on her way to the biannual Unesco Board meeting in Paris, Rampersad said unplanned and unchecked development actions can cost us valuable evidence contained not just around the Banwari site—the 7,000-year-old humanoid skeleton discovered in 1968—but of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ elements that span across the entire peninsula for southeast to southwest Trinidad. 
Much focus on PoS and city heritage
She said there had been much focus on Port-of-Spain and the city heritage that included the seven European-styled buildings in disrepair, but the fundamental and valuable heritage of global scale importance have been overlooked as part of general neglect in development planning for the South. 
“Maybe that has been a good thing and it has allowed these assets to remain undisturbed, but development focus in this district now means we have awakened a sleeping giant, and we must pause, take actions to secure and safeguard, document and explore what really we are sitting on before we allow what may be another course of development.” 
She said focus on heritage had contributed to enhancing national revenue, employment and substantially diversifying economies of many countries which is why so many hanker after being admitted to the Unesco World Heritage lists or any of the recognition Unesco offers on the global value of tangible and intangible heritage. 
“But there are steps to be taken which we have not been entertaining,” she said, claiming her research included interviews and examination of oral and literary culture, maps, comparative charts and other evidence from across more than 50 countries. Rampersad said, “The traditional confrontational stance between development and conservation has resulted in a kind of public fear and deafness. 
“One such I have encountered, apart from a general apathy and indifference to act, is the erroneous belief that the operations of the oil sector or Lake Asphalt may be negatively affected. “This is very far from the truth as the model I am developing has a central place for the oil sector and other industrial heritage.”
Win-win model
She said that there was an absolute win-win model that had been workshopped at various regional Unesco and other forums and to senior officials of the World Heritage Centre, all of whom had urged and were eager to see us step forward. Rampersad said that will be quite a breakthrough for many other societies also trying to strike the balance between meeting the needs of growing populations while conserving for the future. 
“I have many examples of our working successfully with governments, industry and communities to find the perfect fit between what has traditionally been seen as competing actions. “As a small island, T&T with its wealth of human, natural and industrial financial, intellectual and other resources is ideally positioned to impact on and make a difference on the world’s drive for sustainable development.” 
Rampersad said that she feared that “the trigger effect of one kind of development to others can now destroy valuable evidence that has not been thoroughly investigated and so unless we move to safeguard them and establish parameters where this can co-exist with development, we stand to lose a legacy that is of value to not just us in the islands, in the region, but also in defining and establishing our pre-and post-colonial connections to the world. 
“We have the resources, financial and human and intellectual to position T&T as a model small island nation that effectively strikes the balance between development and conservation—that was the goal of the recently held United Nations Summit which Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar attended. “So I am asking the President and the Prime Minister to lead us and take the necessary steps to do this.”—reporting by Charles Kong-Soo
• Rampersad’s blog can be accessed at http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/;and the Petition on Change.org at http://goo.gl/EEzSc6. 
www.krisrampersad.com Media, Cultural and Literary Consultant, Educator, Producer, Author LiTTscapes



Friday, October 3, 2014

The other Magnificent Seven Open Letter to President Carmona and Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar





                     What Is wrong with this picture?                              Above:  National Coat of Arms, Trinidad and Tobago

The Deficit of Curious - the Other Magnificent Seven of the Global South
Open Letter to President Anthony Carmona and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar





Honourable Leaders, Your Excellency Mr President and Dear Prime Minister,

I again interrupt my writing of Letters To Lizzie - tete-a-tete correspondences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on explosive matters of our common interests, history and destiny based on 500 pieces of accumulated outstanding universally valuable pieces of evidence - to write to Your Excellency, Mr President and your honourable self, Madame Prime Minister, citizen to citizen: me as a citizen and a daughter of South Trinidad and to you also as a son, Mr President, and a daughter, Madame Prime Minister, of South Trinidad; to you both as our First Citizens and simultaneously as respective holders of the highest offices in our land and as our leaders to whom have been entrusted the fragility of - be it burden or boon,  mantle or mission, yoke or instruments of liberation - the hopes and the dreams and the aspirations of our nation. For more contact lolleaves@gmail.com