UNESCO helps set National Cultural Policy as priority

Ms. Himalchuli Gurung and Mr. Antonio Maynard

St. Kitts, February 24, 2010 (SKNIS): Culture Specialist of the UNESCO Caribbean Cluster Office, Ms. Himalchuli Gurung, is in the Federation as a guest of the National Commission for UNESCO to provide valuable assistance and advise the Government on the drafting of its National Cultural Policy.

Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO, Antonio Maynard, told SKNIS the goal is to have the National Cultural Policy along with a specific action plan on the Ministers’ desk for approval by 2011.

He explained that while a cultural policy could be drafted by the Ministry of Culture and completed within a month, it certainly would not reflect the needs, observations and desires of the wider public.

Director of Culture Mr. Creighton Pencheon elaborated on the Secretary General’s comment stating that several public forums and community meetings would be held to garner support and input from the general public to ensure that the policy is in fact a National document reflective of the views of all stakeholders.

UNESCO representatives meet with the Ministry of Culture representatives

Other communication and education tools such as seminars, workshops and radio and television programmes will also be employed to get as wide a participation as possible.

Mr. Maynard said Ms. Gurung’s visit would go a long way in moving from the collection of information on the national cultural and heritage sites to creating tangible materials such as a map featuring these heritage sites which can be used in schools. Other considerations include magazines and posters with emphasis on the pictorial nature of these materials.

He referred to a teacher training component designed to assist with practical ways to teach the subject matter in a manner that would interest students. By the end of Ms. Gurung’s visit, Mr. Maynard said he hoped to submit a proposal for the requisite funding for a consultant to the National Cultural Policy.

Advice on the establishment of a National Scientific Committee on the Slave Route Project was another of Ms. Gurung’s focus areas while she was in the Federation. She stated that she looks forward to getting input from stakeholders to hasten the activation of such a committee adding that the Federation’s rich cultural heritage in accordance with the African experience in the Caribbean should receive due attention. She added that all attempts at preservation and monumentalizing this culture should be vigorously pursued.

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