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Note No. 6071


Note to Correspondents




Keynote Address by Vice-Chancellor Emeritus of University of West Indies;

Day-long Events Include Panel Discussion on Legacy of Transatlantic Slavery

The United Nations General Assembly will meet in plenary from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Monday, 26 March, to observe the International Day for the Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. 

Under the theme “Acknowledging the Tragedy, Considering the Legacy”, the meeting will open with a Minute of Silence and a performance by African drummers.  A message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be read by Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro.  A statement by the President of the sixty-first session of the General Assembly will be read by the acting President, Ambassador Boniface Guwa Chidyausiku, Permanent Representative of Zimbabwe to the United Nations.  The Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Denzil Douglas, will deliver a statement on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).  The chairpersons of the various regional groups will make statements, as will the representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States. 

The General Assembly programme, which will be webcast live at, will feature a keynote lecture by Professor Rex Nettleford, an eminent scholar on slavery, and Vice-Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies.  The programme will also include a performance by the Independence Choir led by its Artistic Director, Lloyd Chung, and comprising singers drawn from New York’s West Indian community.

Other commemorative events in the afternoon of 26 March include a press conference at 12:45 p.m. in Room 226 with Prime Minister Denzil Douglas; Mr. Nettleford; Ambassador Philip Sealy, Chair, CARICOM Ambassadors’ Caucus and the Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations; and Ambassador Crispin Gregoire, Permanent Representative of Dominica to the United Nations. 

At 3 p.m. the same day in the Trusteeship Council, CARICOM, in collaboration with the Department of Public Information, will organize a panel discussion on the subject, “The Transatlantic Slave Trade:  the Tragedy, the Legacy”.  Gil Noble, journalist and TV personality, will moderate the discussion, which will begin with welcoming remarks by Ambassador Christopher Hackett, Permanent Representative of Barbados to the United Nations.  Panellists include Franklin Knight (Jamaica), the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor of History and Director of the History of African Americans, John Hopkins Institutions Project; Ali Mazrui (Kenya), the Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities, and Director, Institute of Global Cultural Studies, and Professor of Political Science, African Studies and Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture, Binghamton University of the State University of New York; Lincoln Crawford (United Kingdom), barrister, author and member of the United Kingdom Deputy Prime Minister’s National Commission on Slavery; Naana Opoku Agyeman (Ghana), Lecturer, Cape Coast University, Ghana; Anthony Martin (Trinidad and Tobago), Professor of African Studies, Wellesley College; and James Campbell (United States), Chairman of the Slavery Committee, Brown University. 

Media representatives, delegates and representatives of non-governmental organizations with a valid United Nations grounds pass are invited to attend.  All others must register to attend, by sending an e-mail to with name and affiliation.

For more information, please contact:  Dawn Johnston-Britton, Chief, Public Inquiries Unit, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information, e-mail:, fax:  (212) 963 0771; or visit the Department of Public Information website at:, which is being launched in the United Nations six official languages.  The Department of Public Information website will be an information gateway to educational materials and resources on the Web on the Transatlantic Slave Trade and modern forms of slavery. 

For media accreditation, please visit:  Gary Fowlie, Chief, Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel.:  (212) 963 6937, fax:  (212) 963 4642.

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For information media. Not an official record.