UN launches competition to design memorial to victims of slavery

30 September 2011

The committee tasked with building a permanent memorial at the United Nations to honour the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade today launched a global competition for the design of the structure to remind the world that millions of Africans were violently removed from their homelands, abused and robbed of their dignity.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will administer the design competition, Ambassador Raymond Wolfe of Jamaica, the chair of the Permanent Memorial Committee on Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, told a news conference at UN Headquarters.

“As we launch the competition I am pleased to report that all stakeholders including the members of the committee, Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Africa Group which participated in the negotiations are supremely confident that UNESCO will manage a transparent, inclusive and politically impartial selection process,” said Mr. Wolfe.

He urged ministries of foreign affairs and culture of Member States to disseminate information about the design competition so that a “rich and diverse pool of applications can be submitted to UNESCO for consideration.” The deadline for submitting designs to the competition is 19 December 2011.

Philippe Kridelka, the Director of UNESCO’s New York Office and Representative to the UN, noted that the monument will not only be a symbol, but part of an education process in memory of slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Some $4.5 million is required to build the monument, and just over $1 million has been raised through donations from States and others sources. Mr. Wolfe encouraged corporations, philanthropists and the private sector to contribute to the project.


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Efforts to erect slavery memorial at UN move forward with pact on design and funding

Efforts to build a permanent memorial at the United Nations honouring the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade moved forward today with the signing of an agreement covering the international competition for the design of the structure as well as the administration of a trust fund for its construction.