The Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, Katherine Muller-Marin, participated in the inaugural session of the National Meeting of UNESCO Chairs in Cuba, held on 5-6 November at the “Enrique José Varona” Convention Centre of the University of Havana.
The UNESCO Representative shared with participants considerations of the Office on how to plan future actions of the Organization in Cuba and join the efforts of the UNESCO family on the island in contributing to the 2030 National Development Plan, the Sustainable Development Goals and the implementation of the UNESCO medium- and short-term strategy.
Ms Muller-Marin declared that National Network of UNESCO Chairs will undoubtedly form part of this joint effort, strengthening its work and stimulating the creation of new Chairs that will respond to the country’s needs.
She further stressed that the Meeting was an important forum for presenting a Programme that UNESCO will soon begin to implement, with the funding of the European Union (EU), namely, Transcultura: Integrating Cuba, the Caribbean and the European Union through Culture and Creativity.
The Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture explained that the overall objective of the Programme is to deepen integration within the Caribbean region and strengthen cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, both within the region and between the region and the European Union (EU). Its geographical scope includes 17 territories in the subregion: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
The UNESCO Representative pointed out that by implementing this multidimensional programme in approximately four years, the actors engaged in cultural heritage and creative industries in the region will reach a greater degree of professionalism and generate new opportunities for socioeconomic development and cultural cooperation within the region and between the region and the EU.
To achieve this, she explained, the capacities of the cultural and creative industries will be strengthened through the establishment in Cuba of a regional Cultural Training Hub that will promote the mobility, skills and capacities of young people and professionals in the cultural and creative sectors.
The diplomat highlighted the presence of the University of Havana (UH) in the Hub, with the participation of the University College of San Gerónimo de La Habana, attached to the UH, and the Higher Institute of Design (ISDi). Also participating in the Hub will be the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana, the Ministry of Culture of Cuba and the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Ms Muller-Marin added that as a result of the Programme, there will be greater opportunities for employment and income in the cultural heritage and cultural and creative industries sectors, as well as opportunities for cooperation among artists, cultural operators, civil society and local authorities.
Attending the National Meeting of UNESCO Chairs were the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Education of Cuba, Dr Miriam Alpízar, the President of the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO, Ambassador Oscar León, and the National Coordinator of UNESCO Chairs in Cuba, Dr Elvira Martín Sabina.
The themes discussed at the meeting, with the presence of directors from the 13 UNESCO Chairs in Cuba, included University Management and Education, Education Sciences, Environment and Human Sustainable Development.