10 December 2007
Press Release
Note No. 6120

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents




The United Nations Department of Public Information and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassadorsí Caucus will jointly organize a cultural exposition as part of the outreach programme in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade on 14 December from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber at United Nations Headquarters.

Kiyo Akasaka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, will introduce the programme, which will begin with remarks from Deputy-Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro.† Statements will also be made by Srgjan Kerim, President of the sixty-second session of the General Assembly, and Ambassador Paulette Bethel, Permanent Representative of the Bahamas to the United Nations and current Chair of the CARICOM Caucus.

The cultural exposition will showcase the music of the African diaspora, a resilient people enslaved for centuries for whom music and dance were important acts of resistance.† It will also illustrate that the variety of popular musical genres of the Americas have their origins in the era of slavery, and have been influenced by the historic coming together of three continents: †Africa, Europe and America.

Hollywood actors, some of whom will be in attendance, head a long list of honorary chairpersons, including Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte and Don Cheadle. †Journalist and television personality Gil Noble is also expected, along with several professors, including Franklin Knight, the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor of History and Director of the History of African Americans, John Hopkins Institutions Project; and Ali Mazrui, the Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities, Director, Institute of Global Cultural Studies and Professor of Political Science, African Studies and Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture, Binghamton University, New York.

Also:† Nana Opuku Agyeman, Lecturer, Cape Coast University, Ghana; Anthony Martin, Professor of African Studies, Wellesley College; James Campbell, Chairman of the Slavery Committee, Brown University; and Lincoln Crawford, barrister, author and member of the United Kingdomís Deputy Prime Ministerís National Commission on Slavery.

Performers include Emmy Award-winning film, television and voice-over artist and singer, Keith David, the 2007 winner of the Bistro Award for best male vocalist for his show ďA Tribute to Nat King ColeĒ, and most known for his roles as Childs in John Carpenterís The Thing and Goliath in the cartoon Gargoyles; the calypso king of the world -- The Mighty Sparrow; Sonia Sanchez, Robert Frost award winner; Tabou Combo Super Stars aux Antilles; Jamaican music sensation Barbee; Caribbean Youth Pan Orchestra; Suriname Maroons drummers and dancers; dancers from the Cicely Tyson School of Performing Arts; and Tavon Rowe, a poet from the Frederick Douglass Academy, and many more.

The producer/director of the event is Misani.

In November 2006, the General Assembly decided that the international community would commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in 2007.† Throughout the year, the Department of Public Information, in collaboration with the Permanent Representatives of the CARICOM Ambassadorsí Caucus, comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago have spearheaded a programme of activities at the United Nations to commemorate the bicentenary (www.un.org/events/slaveryabolition). †The programme of activities for 2007 will conclude on 14 December.

United Nations staff, non-governmental organizations and individuals with a valid United Nations ground pass can collect one ticket per person at the Public Inquiries Unit, Room GA-57 (opposite United Nations Bookstore) on 11 and 12 December.† Please note that seating in the Trusteeship Chamber Council is extremely limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information, contact Dawn Johnston-Britton, Chief, Public Inquiries Unit, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information, e-mail: †Johnston-britton@un.org; or Information Officer Vikram Sura, e-mail: †sura@un.org; or tel.: †212 963 8274.

For media accreditation, visit: www.un.org/media/accreditation, or contact Gary Fowlie, Chief, Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, Public Information Department, tel.: †212 963 6937, fax: †212 963 4642.

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For information media • not an official record