International Day for Monuments and Sites celebrated in Guyana

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International Day for Monuments and Sites dates back to more than 30 years ago when the idea of establishing a special day to celebrate the diversity of heritage throughout the world was suggested by the International Council on Monuments and Sites, (ICOMOS) Tunisia on April 18, 1982 on the occasion of a symposium they had organized. The result of the event was the recommendation to designate International Day for Monuments and Sites to be observed every year on April 18. This was approved by the Executive Committee who provided practical suggestions to the National Committees on how to celebrate the day.
Subsequently, the concept was adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO] General Conference at its 22nd session in November 1983 through the passage of a resolution declaring April 18, each year International Monuments and Sites Day. This special day offers an opportunity to raise the awareness of the general public concerning the diversity of the world’s heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as to draw attention to its vulnerability.
Each year since its establishment, ICOMOS a special expert heritage body, selects a global theme and suggests that countries through their various heritage agencies and local ICOMOS committees devise their own national themes for observing the day throughout the world; highlighting the importance and promotion of aspects of the world’s cultural heritage. The aim is to encourage local communities and individuals to consider the importance of cultural heritage to their lives, identities and communities and to move beyond the world heritage sites with specific focus on national and local heritage sites which are equally significant.
This year Guyana celebrated the day through the efforts of the National Trust of Guyana, Ministry of Culture, the state agency charged with the responsibility of preserving the nation’s heritage under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport. A special thematic out-door exhibition and day of fun was held on April 16 under the national theme ‘Celebrating Guyana’s Patrimony: A trail of our Built Heritage’.
This event was officially opened by the then Honourable Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony in the historic Promenade Gardens, Georgetown specifically targeting school children and the general public at large and providing the opportunity for them to learn more about Guyana’s monuments and sites, the main focus of this year’s exhibition and the significance of this international day.
The Trust also launched five heritage information signs which were also part of its on-going public awareness efforts to educate citizens about the country’s heritage. Specifically, the signs are in recognition of the 1823 Demerara Revolt and were placed in five of the many villages involved in the historic event along the East Coast Demerara, Turkeyen – Mahaica. These were unveiled by the Minister and CEO of National Trust Ms. Nirvana Persaud.
The day comprised tours of the exhibition and heritage related games from which numerous students and adults benefitted in terms of the expansion of their knowledge on monuments and sites and heritage related interactive games for which many won prizes.

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