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Ban Ki-Moon

UNDPI / Graphic Design Unit

 

Participate in a Live Video Conference on the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Date: 28 March, 2008

 

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The transatlantic slave trade is a major element of global history.  The forced movement of West African people across the Atlantic resulted in unprecedented forms of cruelty and subjugation, racism, inequality, shifts in cultural identity, a marked decline in the West African population and significant economic and agricultural developments in the Caribbean, Europe and the Americas.

Little is known about the 400-year long transatlantic slave trade and its lasting consequences felt throughout the world, or of the contribution of slaves to the building of the societies that enslaved them.  This lack of knowledge of history has had multiple negative effects. Most importantly, it has served to marginalize people of African descent across Europe and North and South America, as well as to normalize notions of superiority among some populations.

On 28 March 2008, high school students assembled at UNHQ will have the opportunity to interact with peers around the world who have been studying the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  Students from the following locations will be participating in the 28 March videoconference:

· Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
· Freetown, Sierra Leone
· Bristol, England
· Oslo, Norway
· Cape Verde
· Castries, St. Lucia

Some of the students are traveling on a replica of the Amistad which is retracing the Slave Trade Route. The Amistad began its voyage in New Haven, Connecticut on 21 June 2007. Since then it has sailed to Canada, crossed the Atlantic to England as part of Britain’s observance of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, docked in Portugal, Sierra Leone, Goree Island, Senegal and Cape Verde. On 28 March it will be in Castries, St. Lucia where students on the ship will participate in the live videoconference.

The entire event will be webcast and students around the world will be able to participate 'live' by sending comments and questions to United Nations Headquarters in New York during the videoconference.