Portal de la Cultura de América Latina y el Caribe
5th International Diploma Course "Media to Communicate Heritage" inaugurated in Havana
© UNESCO Havana. Presiding over the ceremony (from left to right) Magda Resik, Olga Rufins, Eusebio Leal, Belkys Pérez and Ariel Terrero.
2 June 2015/ UNESCO Havana/Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

The Fifth Edition of the International Diploma Course "Media to Communicate Heritage" was inaugurated at the Main Hall of the University College San Gerónimo de La Habana, with the participation of over 40 communicators from Latin America and the Caribbean. This event has been jointly organised since 2011 by the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana (OHCH), the José Martí International Institute of Journalism, and the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean.

After OHCH Director of Communication Magda Resik delivered the welcoming speech, Olga Rufins, Acting Officer in charge of the UNESCO Office in Havana stressed "the fundamental role of communication and information in raising citizen awareness", which is why UNESCO considers it of vital importance to "foster far-reaching and significant multidisciplinary actions such as this", which promotes the training of Latin American and Caribbean communicators in a theme of primary importance to the Organisation: the preservation of heritage in its manifold expressions.

Upon highlighting that "UNESCO defends the concept that culture is an essential pillar of the human and economic development of our societies, and should therefore be included in the new Sustainable Development Goals that the international community will adopt in 2015 as a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals," Rufins underscored the importance of conducting this diploma course in this unique context.

Belkys Pérez Cruz, Vice President of the Union of Journalists of Cuba (UPEC), who also addressed the participants, pointed out the results of the preceding editions, which facilitated the quality upgrading of over a hundred journalists in the region.

In turn, the director of the José Martí International Institute of Journalism of Cuba (UPEC), Ariel Terrero, asserted that the diploma course has become an important heritage of the mass media in Latin America and the Caribbean for the safeguarding of history, as well as of the region's cultural and natural legacy, as opposed to the danger posed by the abuse of the paradigm of immediacy and the new technologies in the information framework.

Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler, Historian of the City of Havana, was pleased to see the strong presence of women in the Organisation and in the diploma course, an aspect he stressed since it is one of the essential values that humankind considers today as a challenge: equal pay and equal credit for equal work, both for men and women, especially the full recognition of their worth.

With his customary eloquence, Dr. Leal spoke of the history of the inauguration site, which housed the first Cuban university, and mentioned some of its outstanding Cuban graduates, such as Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, the Father of the Country. He also had words of praise for each of the nations represented (Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama and Peru) and for the Cuban provinces with participants in the diploma course (Pinar del Río, Mayabeque, La Habana, Cienfuegos, Sancti Spíritus, Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Las Tunas, Holguín, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo.)

Highpoints of the academic programme of this fifth edition will be the keynote lectures "An Approach to Latin American and Caribbean Heritage" by Dr Isabel Rigol, UNESCO consultant, and "Cultural Policies for Heritage Protection in Cuba", by MSc Nilson Acosta, vice president of the National Heritage Council of Cuba.

In addition, there will be several dissertations on specific communication and heritage themes, among them, the presentation by MSc Magda Resik, of the Guide for the Press Coverage of Heritage, published under the auspices of UNESCO Havana, as well as the lectures that will be delivered by Dr. Hilda Saladrigas, professor of the University of Havana, namely, "Agendas of Communication Studies" and "Methodology for Communication Research".

Also included in the programme are other activities specifically related to heritage management, architecture, photography, and the design and role played by each of these fields in the preservation of memory.

As in previous editions, the workshop "UNESCO and Heritage: What, how, when, where and why communicate it?" will be conducted during two days, in which specialists from the UNESCO Office in Havana will present the conventions and programmes of the Organisation relative to heritage promotion and conservation, as well as available public communication platforms and tools.

The seminar "Communication and Tourism", the explanation of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Model of the Historic Centre of Old Havana, and the corresponding tour; the presentation of the experiences of the Network of Offices of the Historian and the Conserver of the City; and a visit to Las Terrazas, located in the Sierra del Rosario in the western province of Artemisa, which was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, complete the programme.

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