28 March 2008
Press Release
Note No. 6136

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

Note to Correspondents

Student Videoconference at United Nations to Discuss Transatlantic Slave Trade

The United Nations Department of Public Information, in collaboration with Amistad America (www.amistadamerica.org), will organize the first annual student videoconference in observance of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium at United Nations Headquarters today, 28 March, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Eric Falt, Director, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information will open the videoconference with students participating live from sites in Oslo, Norway; Halifax, Canada; Bristol, United Kingdom; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Praia, Cape Verde; Castries, Saint Lucia; and United Nations Headquarters in New York to discuss the causes, consequences and legacy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  Some of these students have been working with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Slave Route project and others have retraced parts of the “Middle Passage” on board a replica of the schooner Amistad, which will be linked live via satellite.

The event will be moderated by Captain William Pinkney.  A sailor and adventurer, in 1992, this Chicago native became the first black man to sail solo around the world, taking the southern route around the five great capes, through waters considered to be the most dangerous on the globe.  In November 1998, he embarked on a second trip, setting sail from the Caribbean, leading a group of educators on an historic voyage to retrace the Middle Passage slave trade routes used during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  Captain Pinkney continued his voyages as Master of the Amistad from 2000 to 2003.

The videoconference is the final event in a weeklong series organized by the Department of Public Information at United Nations Headquarters to increase awareness of and educate present and future generations about the causes, consequences and legacy of the 400-year slave trade.

For more information, please contact:  Bill Yotive, Chief, Global Teaching and Learning Project, (www.cyberschoolbus.un.org) e-mail:  yotive@un.org, tel.:  1 212 963 1400; and Dawn Johnston-Britton, Chief, Public Inquiries Unit, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information, e-mail:  johnston‑britton@un.org, tel.:  1 212 963 6984.  For more information on related events, please visit http://www.un.org/events/slaveryremembrance.

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For information media • not an official record