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UNESCO grants medals to Cuba and to Cubans, 6/09

Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï (left), Benin's Ambassador to UNESCO and Chairman of the UNESCO Executive Board, arrived in Cuba on 6/16/09 and attended a number of ceremonies. At several of these, he gave out medals.  We have numerous photos of the main ceremony, where the recipients are mostly people who have long been featured on AfroCubaWeb.

According to the UN office in Cuba, those who received a medal include:

- Alicia Alonso, Medalla Mahatma Gandhi
- Dr. Rogelio Martínez Furé, Medalla Toussaint L'Ouverture
- Dr. Miguel Barnet, Medalla Simón Bolívar
- Dra. Nancy Morejón, Medalla Víctor Hugo
- Dra. Jean Stubbs, Medalla Toussaint L'Ouverture
- Pedro Pérez Sarduy, Medalla Víctor Hugo
- Gloria Rolando, Medalla Federico Fellini
- Familia Baró de Jovellanos, Medalla Toussaint L'Ouverture
- Manuel Mendive, Medalla de la Diversidad Cultural
- Dr. Tomás Robaina, Medalla Toussaint L'Ouverture
- Asociación Cultural Yoruba de Cuba, Medalla de la Diversidad Cultural
- Abel Prieto, Ministro de Cultura de Cuba, Medalla Víctor Hugo
- Republic of Cuba, Medalla de la Diversidad Cultural

Yoruba Andabo played for the guests. See our
UNESCO medals - photo gallery.

Ambassador Yai has been a distinguished scholar for many years, he is considered a Guillen scholar and has traced many of Nicolas Guillen's styles back to the literary styles used in the Oyo Empire in Nigeria.

Ambassador Olabiyi Yai Remarks

Reception hosted by the Director of UNESCO Havana Office, Mr. Herman Van Hoof, on the occasion of the visit to Cuba of the Chairman of the Executive Board, Ambassador Olabiyi Yai. 14-19 June 2009.

In his introductory remarks, he stated the following:

"As Chairman of the Executive Board of UNESCO, I am pleased to honour you today with the following medals in recognition of your efforts to promote peace, equality, cultures values, and to fight all forms of discrimination and exclusion wreaked in particular on descendants of enslaved people. While Cuba has contributed significantly to the reinforcement of UNESCO’s program and goals in you country and the region, little has been done to acknowledge your significant contribution. This awarding ceremony is therefore a symbolic gesture to a selected number of you as part of UNESCO’s good intention to encourage you in your tireless efforts for peace, freedom and fundamental rights."

The following Cuban experts were honored:

· Alicia Alonso received the Gandhi medal. The medal was issued at the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, India’s “Father of the Nation” and the world’s advocate of non-violence, peace and tolerance. 

· Four experts were honored with Toussaint L’Ouverture medal: Rogelio Martinez Fure, Jean Stubbs, Familia Baro de Jovellanos, Tomas Robaina. The medal was designed to reward an outstanding achievement that, in keeping with the spirit and action of Toussaint L’ouverture, has made a lasting contribution to combating racism in the political, literary and artistic fields. A black divisional general, Toussaint L’ouverture is the hero of the Haitian independence, symbol of the struggle against slavery and racial discrimination.

· Miguel Barnet was honored with Simon Bolivar medal, in acknowledgement of his actions and activities that contributed to the freedom, independence and dignity of peoples and to the strengthening of a new international economic, social and cultural order.

· The Victor Hugo medal was given to Nancy Morejon, Pedro Perez Saduy, Abel Prieto, in acknowledgement of their writings, which contribute significantly to the protection and promotion of the rights of man/woman and the oppressed.

· The Federico Fellini medal was given to Gloria Rolando in acknowledgement to her notable efforts to boost the art of film.

· Manuel Mendive and Asociación Yoruba de Cuba received the World Decade for Cultural Development medal, commonly known as the cultural diversity medal in recognition of their work for the promotion of cultural diversity.

These remarks were delivered in fluent Spanish, to the surprise and delight of Cuban officials who were present.


Articles

La visita a Cuba de Olabibi Babalola Joseph Yaï: Reconocimiento de la UNESCO a Cuba y a intelectuales y artistas cubanos  6/19/2009 ONU Cuba: "El reconocimiento de la UNESCO y de sus países miembros a Cuba y a prestigiosos intelectuales y artistas cubanos por su infatigable labor cultural en beneficio de la humanidad expresó el Embajador Olabibi Babalola Joseph Yaï, Presidente del Consejo Ejecutivo de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, Ciencia y Cultura y Delegado Permanente de la República de Benin ante esa organización, en una ceremonia en la sede de la UNESCO en esta capital. El encuentro fue presentado por el Representante de la UNESCO en Cuba y Director Regional de Cultura para América Latina y el Caribe, Herman van Hooff, quien resaltó la importancia de la visita oficial a Cuba del Embajador Yaï y sus conversaciones con altos dirigentes cubanos, intelectuales y artistas. Asimismo, subrayó el gran agrado con que la institución acoge la presencia en Cuba de tan distinguida personalidad."

Slave Route Museum Inaugurated in Matanzas, Cuba  6/17/2009 Juventud Rebelde: "The Afro América exhibition was opened during the inauguration featuring 105 educational posters and 14 African sculptures donated by Cuban artist Lorenzo Padilla."

Concede la UNESCO a Cuba Medalla de la Diversidad Cultural  6/17/2009 Trabajadores: "Olabiyi entregó a Abel Prieto, miembro del Buró Político y ministro de Cultura, la Medalla de la Diversidad Cultural de la Unesco, en reconocimiento a la posición de Cuba contra los prejuicios y estereotipos que aún prevalecen debido al estigma de la esclavitud, y a una actividad cultural encaminada a distinguir el proceso de transculturación y mestizaje en nuestros pueblos. Al agradecer el gesto, el titular cubano de Cultura reconoció que tiene un gran valor, sobre todo porque el Museo se vincula con la filosofía del Consejo Nacional de Patrimonio de que un museo no es un almacén de piezas, concebidas como algo arqueológico que pertenece al pasado, sino que esas instituciones culturales deben verse como instrumentos educativos, vivos, en manos de la comunidad, de maestros y escuelas."

Otorga la UNESCO a Cuba medalla de la diversidad cultural, 6/16/09

BARBARA VASALLO VASALLO

Abel Prieto, ministro de Cultura de Cuba, recibió en la ciudad de Matanzas la Medalla de la Diversidad Cultural, que otorgó a la Isla la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura (UNESCO).

Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yai, presidente del Consejo Ejecutivo de la UNESCO, entregó el reconocimiento a Cuba, que "sobresale en la defensa de raíces e identidad nacional y es ejemplo de ello para el mundo".

La ceremonia de entrega de la medalla aconteció en la inauguración oficial del Museo Nacional de La Ruta del Esclavo, enclavado en el otrora Castillo de San Severino, sitio fundacional de la urbe matancera, a unos 100 kilómetros al este de La Habana.

El dirigente de la UNESCO, oriundo de Benin, en África occidental, destacó la contribución de Cuba a la alfabetización en ese continente y en la lucha por la liberación contra el colonialismo, al tiempo que felicitó la idea de instituir aquí este museo, reflejo de la triste etapa de la esclavitud.

Abel Prieto, miembro del Buró Político del Partido Comunista de Cuba, dijo a la AIN que la condecoración quedará en el museo y constituye un reconocimiento a la política cultural del país.

El ministro elogió la idea de la UNESCO en defensa del patrimonio cultural de la humanidad, y dijo que Cuba asume como práctica políticas inscriptas en documentos de esa institución, como el vínculo de instituciones culturales con escuelas y comunidades, por muy intrincadas que estén.

A la ceremonia, asistieron dirigentes políticos y del Gobierno de la provincia de Matanzas, además de destacadas personalidades de la cultura cubana e integrantes del cuerpo diplomático acreditado en la Isla, fundamentalmente de países africanos e iberoamericanos.

[La UNESCO ortogo a Cuba la Medalla de la Diversidad Cultural y a Abel Prieto la Medalla Victor Hugo.]

-- http://www.cubainformacion.tv/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10305&Itemid=65

Cuba Elected to UNESCO Committee on Cultural Diversity, Cuba Now, 6/17/09

The island received the largest number of votes (61) after Canada (63) during an electoral process in Paris. UNESCO also granted Cuba the Cultural Diversity Medal during a ceremony in central Matanzas province.

Cubanow.- Cuba was elected by huge majority to the Intergovernmental Committee of the Convention for the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity with the UN Education Science and Culture Organization UNESCO.

During the election of representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Paris, France, Cuba got 61 votes and Brazil 57; for the Asian region, China and Laos were elected; Albania and Bulgaria were chosen to represent Eastern Europe, Jordan and Tunisia for the Middle East and Cameroon and Kenya were elected representatives for Africa. Canada and France were elected among the highly developed countries.

Cuban ambassador to UNESCO, Hector Hernandez Pardo described Cuba´s election as an extraordinary result that proves the acknowledgement of the island´s consecration to the issue.

Cuba obtained the majority of votes after Canada, which got 69 votes, said Hernadez Pardo who also noted that despite the failed and obsolete isolation policy practiced by Washington against the Caribbean nation, Cuba always had impressing support. The election of Cuba expresses strong support of the cultural policy of our country, he said.

UNESCO adopted the Convention for the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity in 2005 despite the opposition of the United States and Israel and following huge debates.

Meanwhile, Cuban Culture Minister Abel Prieto received in central Matanzas province the Cultural Diversity Medal granted by UNESCO.

The president of the executive council of the UN organization, Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yai gave Cuba the important distinction, for its outstanding defense of its national identity and roots and for being an example for the world.

The ceremony took place during the inauguration of the National Museum located at the San Severino Castle, the founding site of Matanzas city.

The UNESCO executive underscored the contribution of Cuba to fighting illiteracy in Africa and to the struggle against colonialism. He praised the idea of opening the museum, which is called “La Ruta del Esclavo” (The Slave´s Route) which recalls the sad story of slavery.

Abel Prieto said that the medal will be displayed at the museum and that it constitutes an acknowledgement to the Cuban cultural policy. He added that Cuba practices the policies stated in UNESCO documents, such as the relationship between cultural institutions and schools or communities, no matter how remote they can be.

The ceremony was attended by Communist Party and government officials in Matanzas province as well as renowned figures of the world of culture, members of the diplomatic community, particularly from African and Ibero-American nations.

June 17, 2009, 11:27 am

-- http://www.cubainformacion.tv/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10305&Itemid=65

 

Linkstop

Nicolás Guillén, poet (1902-1989), on AfroCubaWeb, cites Olabiyi Yai as a Guillen scholar.

Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yai - Biography
Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yai is Chairman of UNESCO's Executive Board
Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï elected Chairman of UNESCO Executive Board, 11/07
portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=41190&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

 

 

 

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