On Wednesday night, students gathered in Vander Vennet Theatre for a screening of “The Laramie Project.” The film is adapted from a play based on interviews of townspeople after Matthew Shepard, a 22-year-old gay man, was kidnapped, beaten and murdered in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998.This years’ Saint Mary’s Margaret Hill Visiting Artist is Barbara Pitts McAdams, who performs in the film and helped create the it and an award-winning play.“We blundered into Laramie because we were all affected by what happened there,” Pitts McAdams said. “We weren’t qualified to do what we were doing.”The film is about Shepard, who was openly gay in Laramie, a secluded town of skeptics. Before Shepard was killed, he attended the University of Wyoming. One of Shepard’s best friends in the movie said Shepard was interested in politics and had a passion for human rights.The town was shocked to learn that Shepard was killed by two young men from Laramie — they expected the perpetrators to be from elsewhere. The men bound Shepard to a fence and beat him with a pistol. When an officer found him unconscious, she said the only place on his head that wasn’t covered in blood was where he had been crying. He died several days later.Pitts McAdams said all the actors for the play were “dramaturgs,” which are actors who provide extra research or structural support.“They keep their eye on whether or not we’re veering from the story,” she said. “I was one of them.”“We interviewed 200 people for the Laramie project, but we ultimately had about 60 characters,” she added. “We each may have been a dramaturg for our character or someone else’s character.”Pitts McAdams played the landlady of the trailer park where one of the perpetrators lived. She was given information from the woman’s interview such as her occupation and her connection to the perpetrator. Pitts McAdams said playing this character made her confront her own assumptions.“The first time I was handed her interview, I made this assumption in my mind,” she said. “To be crass, I assumed trailer trash. When I listened to her whole interview, she has a double major from the University of Wyoming and she owns the trailer park. I heard trailer park and I made all these blue-collar assumptions about her.”When she met the character she was playing, Pitts McAdams realized there was more to the woman’s life.“I really put her in a box. It made me realize how even those of us who consider ourselves not prejudiced that we still have to check ourselves and our assumptions about people,” she said.Pitts McAdams is currently writing and directing a play that will be put on at Saint Mary’s, titled “If You Knew Me.” She has been interviewing students at Saint Mary’s about their experiences of diversity. Pitts McAdams said she has learned so much since doing “The Laramie Project.”“What didn’t occur to us was that if we put people’s real names in the play, thousands of people will contact them,” she said. “We would probably do it differently now to protect our interview subjects from intrusion, but we just didn’t even know any better.”Unlike “The Laramie Project,” the stories gathered for “If You Knew Me” will be anonymous.Assistant director of the play, senior Makena Henell, had never seen “The Laramie Project” before Wednesday night.“I thought it was really powerful and heartbreaking to see every side of the argument,” Henell said. “You thought people would be sympathetic, but they weren’t.”Henell said the purpose of the Saint Mary’s play will be to bring awareness to diversity and inclusion.“What the show really is is holding a mirror up to Saint Mary’s,” she said. “How is Saint Mary’s inclusive, how is it not inclusive? We’re trying to include diversity in every aspect — race, sexuality, mental illness — by listening to people’s stories and their perspectives.”Pitts McAdams’ process is different than what Henell has worked with in the past.“The big thing we’ve learned working with Barb is that it’s a lot harder working on an original project,” she said. “You’re really building on the experiences of other people. I had a friend tell me you have to remember people aren’t numbers — these people have friends and families and dreams and desires.”Pitts McAdams said she is inspired by working on Saint Mary’s campus.“Wherever we are in the conversation about diversity or inclusivity, I can totally see why anyone would want to go to college here,” she said. “It really is beautiful to experience.”Tags: Barbara Pitts McAdams, Laramie Project, Vander Vennet Theatre
Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Tunisia open their campaign in Group B against Senegal on January 15 before taking on Algeria and Zimbabwe. Tunisia named their 23-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday with Europe-based stars Aymen Abdennour, Wahbi Khazri and Naim Sliti poised to be the key men at the January 14-February 5 tournament in Gabon.Coach Henryk Kasperczak, who was also in charge of The Carthage Eagles at the 1996 finals, trimmed his squad from 41 players.
‘Showtime’–In this Aug. 13, 2010 photo, Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, foreground, speaks as, from background left to right, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Pat Riley react during the enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File) by Greg BeachamAP Sports WriterLOS ANGELES (AP) — Jerry Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers’ playboy owner who shepherded the NBA team to 10 championships from the Showtime dynasty of the 1980s to the Kobe Bryant era, died Monday. He was 80.Buss had been hospitalized for most of the past 18 months while undergoing cancer treatment, but the immediate cause of death was kidney failure, Steiner said. With his condition worsening in recent weeks, several prominent former Lakers visited Buss to say goodbye.“The NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said. “More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend.”Under Buss’ leadership since 1979, the Lakers became Southern California’s most beloved sports franchise and a worldwide extension of Hollywood glamour. Buss acquired, nurtured and befriended a staggering array of talented players and basketball minds during his Hall of Fame tenure, from Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard.“He was a great man and an incredible friend,” Johnson tweeted.Few owners in sports history can approach Buss’ accomplishments with the Lakers, who made the NBA finals 16 times during his nearly 34 years in charge, winning 10 titles between 1980 and 2010. With 1,786 victories, the Lakers easily are the NBA’s winningest franchise since he bought the club, which is now run largely by Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss, two of his six children.“We not only have lost our cherished father, but a beloved man of our community and a person respected by the world basketball community,” the Buss family said in a statement issued by the Lakers.“It was our father’s often-stated desire and expectation that the Lakers remain in the Buss family. The Lakers have been our lives as well, and we will honor his wish and do everything in our power to continue his unparalleled legacy.”Buss always referred to the Lakers as his extended family, and his players rewarded his fanlike excitement with devotion, friendship and two hands full of championship rings. Working with front-office executives Jerry West, Bill Sharman and Mitch Kupchak, Buss spent lavishly to win his titles despite lacking a huge personal fortune, often running the NBA’s highest payroll while also paying high-profile coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.Always an innovative businessman, Buss paid for the Lakers through both their wild success and his own groundbreaking moves to raise revenue. He co-founded a basic-cable sports television network and sold the naming rights to the Forum at times when both now-standard strategies were unusual, further justifying his induction to the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.Buss was a “cornerstone of the Los Angeles sports community and his name will always be synonymous with his beloved Lakers,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. “It was through his stewardship that the Lakers brought ‘Showtime’ basketball and numerous championship rings to this great city. Today we mourn the loss and celebrate the life of a man who helped shape the modern landscape of sports in L.A.”Johnson and fellow Hall of Famers Abdul-Jabbar and Worthy formed lifelong bonds with Buss during the Lakers’ run to five titles in nine years in the 1980s, when the Lakers earned a reputation as basketball’s most exciting team with their flamboyant Showtime style.The buzz extended throughout the Forum, where Buss used the Laker Girls, a brass band and promotions to keep Los Angeles fans interested in all four quarters of their games. Courtside seats, priced at $15 when he bought the Lakers, became the hottest tickets in Hollywood — and they still are, with fixture Jack Nicholson and many other celebrities attending every home game.Worthy tweeted that Buss was “not only the greatest sports owner, but a true friend & just a really cool guy. Loved him dearly.”After a rough stretch of the 1990s for the Lakers, Jackson led O’Neal and Bryant to a three-peat from 2000-02, rekindling the Lakers’ mystique, before Bryant and Pau Gasol won two more titles under Jackson in 2009 and 2010. The Lakers have struggled mightily during their current season despite adding Howard and Steve Nash, and could miss the playoffs for just the third time since Buss bought the franchise.“Today is a very sad day for all the Lakers and basketball,” Gasol tweeted. “All my support and condolences to the Buss family. Rest in peace Dr. Buss.”Although Buss gained fame and fortune with the Lakers, he also was a scholar, Renaissance man and bon vivant who epitomized California cool his entire public life.Buss rarely appeared in public without at least one attractive, much younger woman on his arm at USC football games, high-stakes poker tournaments, hundreds of boxing matches promoted by Buss at the Forum — and, of course, Lakers games from his private box at Staples Center, which was built under his watch. In failing health recently, Buss hadn’t attended a Lakers game this season.Buss earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at age 24 and had careers in aerospace and real estate development before getting into sports. With money from his real-estate ventures and a good bit of creative accounting, Buss bought the then-struggling Lakers, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and both clubs’ arena — the Forum — from Jack Kent Cooke in a $67.5 million deal that was the largest sports transaction in history at the time.Last month, Forbes estimated the Lakers were worth $1 billion, second most in the NBA.Buss also helped change televised sports by co-founding the Prime Ticket network in 1985, receiving a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006 for his work in television. Breaking the contemporary model of subscription services for televised sports, Buss’ Prime Ticket put beloved broadcaster Chick Hearn and the Lakers’ home games on basic cable.Buss also sold the naming rights to the Forum in 1988 to Great Western Savings & Loan — another deal that was ahead of its time.Born in Salt Lake City, Gerald Hatten Buss was raised in poverty in Wyoming before improving his life through education. He also grew to love basketball, describing himself as an “overly competitive but underly endowed player.”After graduating from the University of Wyoming, Buss attended USC for graduate school. He became a chemistry professor and worked as a chemist for the Bureau of Mines before carving out a path to wealth and sports prominence.The former mathematician’s fortune grew out of a $1,000 real-estate investment in a West Los Angeles apartment building with partner Frank Mariani, an aerospace engineer and co-worker.Heavily leveraging his fortune and various real-estate holdings, Busspurchased Cooke’s entire Los Angeles sports empire in 1979, including a 13,000-acre ranch in Kern County. Buss cited his love of basketball as the motivation for his purchase, and he immediately worked to transform the Lakers — who had won just one NBA title since moving west from Minneapolis in 1960 — into a star-powered endeavor befitting Hollywood.“One of the first things I tried to do when I bought the team was to make it an identification for this city, like Motown in Detroit,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2008. “I try to keep that identification alive. I’m a real Angeleno. I want us to be part of the community.”Buss’ plans immediately worked: Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar and coach Paul Westhead led the Lakers to the 1980 title. Johnson’s ball-handling wizardry and Abdul-Jabbar’s smooth inside game made for an attractive style of play evoking Hollywood flair and West Coast sophistication.Riley, the former broadcaster who fit the L.A. image perfectly with his slick-backed hair and good looks, was surprisingly promoted by Buss early in the 1981-82 season after West declined to co-coach the team. Riley became one of the best coaches in NBA history, leading the Lakers to four straight NBA finals and four titles, with Worthy, Michael Cooper, Byron Scott and A.C. Green playing major roles.Overall, the Lakers made the finals nine times in Buss’ first 12 seasons while rekindling the NBA’s best rivalry with the Boston Celtics, and Buss basked in the worldwide celebrity he received from his team’s achievements. His womanizing and partying became Hollywood legend, with even his players struggling to keep up with Buss’ lifestyle.Johnson’s HIV diagnosis and retirement in 1991 staggered Buss and the Lakers, the owner recalled in 2011. The Lakers struggled through much of the 1990s, going through seven coaches and making just one conference finals appearance in an eight-year stretch despite the 1996 arrivals of O’Neal, who signed with Los Angeles as a free agent, and Bryant, the 17-year-old high schooler acquired in a draft-week trade.Shaq and Kobe didn’t reach their potential until Buss persuaded Jackson, the Chicago Bulls’ six-time NBA champion coach, to take over the Lakers in 1999. Los Angeles immediately won the next three NBA titles in brand-new Staples Center, AEG’s state-of-the-art downtown arena built with the Lakers as the primary tenant.After the Lakers traded O’Neal in 2004, they hovered in mediocrity again until acquiring Gasol in a heist of a trade with Memphis in early 2008. Los Angeles made the next three NBA finals, winning two more titles.Through the Lakers’ frequent successes and occasional struggles, Buss never stopped living his Hollywood dream. He was an avid poker player and a fixture on the Los Angeles club scene well into his 70s, when a late-night drunk-driving arrest in 2007 — with a 23-year-old woman in the passenger seat of his Mercedes-Benz — prompted him to cut down on his partying.Buss owned the NHL’s Kings from 1979-87, and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks won two league titles under Buss’ ownership. He also owned Los Angeles franchises in World Team Tennis and the Major Indoor Soccer League.Buss’ children all have worked for the Lakers organization in various capacities for several years. Jim Buss, the Lakers’ executive vice president of player personnel and the second-oldest child, has taken over much of the club’s primary decision-making responsibilities in the last few years, while daughter Jeanie runs the franchise’s business side.Jerry Buss still served two terms as president of the NBA’s Board of Governors and was actively involved in the 2011 lockout negotiations, developing blood clots in his legs attributed to his extensive travel during that time.Buss is survived by six children: sons Johnny, Jim, Joey and Jesse, and daughters Jeanie Buss and Janie Drexel. He had eight grandchildren.Arrangements are pending for a funeral and memorial services.Associated Press writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.
Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 2, 2019. (Michael Conroy / Associated Press)INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Many headliners boosted their draft stock at theNFL‘s annual scouting combine with a wonderful workout, a dazzling 40-yard dash, a brilliant bench press or, in Kyler Murray’s case, just standing up straight.Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat and Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf were the big winners along with Murray , but others saw eyebrows raised and their value lowered after costly injuries, bad interviews or pedestrian performances.They’ll have to do better in their pro days and private workouts ahead of the draft in late April.One of the biggest disappointments was potential first-round pick Jachai Polite, an outside linebacker from Florida who put up unimpressive numbers in the 40 (4.84 seconds) and vertical jump (32 inches) before ending his workout Sunday with a sore hamstring.Clemson’s hulking defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence strained his left thigh running the 40 and sat out the remaining drills, disappointing scouts eager to see how the 350-pounder performed after missing the College Football Playoff because of a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug.Lawrence’s college teammate, linebacker Tre Lamar, hurt his right shoulder on the bench press, and highly touted LSU cornerback Greedy Williams didn’t compete Monday after suffering cramps.The most serious injury came Sunday when Ohio State cornerback Kendall Sheffield tore a chest muscle while heaving 225 pounds in the bench press drill. A torn pectoral typically requires surgery and a year’s recovery.More disconcerting to teams are the players who can’t use injury as an excuse. That group this year included:_Mississippi left tackle Greg Little. He labored through the on-field drills and posted poor numbers in the 40 (5.33) and vertical jump (25 inches). Those were among the worst for O-linemen and he skipped the bench press altogether._Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary. The Owls’ 5-foot-7, 203-pound playmaker piled up 3,300 yards and 54 touchdowns the last two seasons. But his hopes of shedding concerns about the level of competition he faced took a hit with a disappointing 4.66-second 40-yard dash._Georgia running back Elijah Holyfield. His status as one of the few standouts in a rather weak running backs class took a hit when he was clocked in the 40 in 4.78 seconds, slower than the trio of punters and kickers who ran the 40 at the combine. Among running backs, only Wisconsin’s Alec Ingold ran slower than Holyfield._Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley. He posted poor numbers in the 40 _ 4.58 seconds _ and the vertical jump _ 301/2 inches, which was second worst among wide receivers. Only Fresno State’s KeeSean Johnson at 30 inches was worse._Texas WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Scouts were left wondering if he could win 1-on-1 matchups after he posted a 4.75-second 40, the slowest among wide receivers at the combine.Now that the combine is over, prospects can turn their attention to pro days and private team workouts _ and not just the guys who had bad combines who are trying to impress.Murray didn’t throw or run in Indianapolis. All he did after getting measured at 5-foot-10 and 207 pounds was meet with teams. He said he’ll throw and run at Oklahoma’s pro day.Despite not breaking a sweat in Indy, Murray’s measurements placated concerns he was way too short and small to survive in the NFL. Now, all the buzz is about how he might even follow former Oklahoma teammate Baker Mayfield as the top overall draft pick.“I’m going to be happy wherever I go,” Murray said. “At the end of this, it’s an opportunity to go play football.”___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL___Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter:http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
In this third article of the series centered on the mechanics and necessity of thanksgiving particular attention will be paid to the question,“How should we give thanks to God and one another? Is thanksgiving an art? How then may it be mastered? How can one learn, maintain and teach others the art of thanksgiving? How may we adults teach our children to make thanksgiving a lifetime habit? Why is it important to know how to give thanks? These questions and others will be explored in this article. The second article on why is it essential to give thanks to God and one another observed the following: All human beings are encouraged and in fact commanded to give thanks to God in all circumstances and situations because God Almighty is the Source of all that each person is and has. The writer of Psalm 24 puts it accurately: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and all who dwell therein” (14:1). The basis of all thanksgiving to God is that God is the Owner of us all and we are all mere stewards of his bounty. As stewards we manage what does not belong to us and are therefore accountable to the Owner. Our life and whatever comes with it is given on trusteeship. When we give him thanks in thought, word, and in deed we acknowledge that fact.We give and ought to give God praise and thanks because we depend on him for every success and blessing of life. Our ingenuity, great planning and industry would amount to nothing if God does not give the rain and sunshine. Where would we be if he does not give health and strength? As Paul the Apostle right confessed: “I plant and Apollos waters but it is God alone who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6).It is also our bounding duty to give thanks to one another for the good things we enjoy from one another (advice, guidance, encouragement, practical support that gives real relief in time of need, and the various ways others come alongside us to keep us going on in life). We depend on God and one another for whatever we have and enjoy in life. Ingratitude hurts. Conversely thanksgiving brings joy and warmth to God and the human heart. It ignites and propels the divine spark in each one of us. It begets more desire for goodness in the human thought and motivates for positive actions. We give thanks to express our dependence on God and on one another and this simple art of gratitude geminates goodness in ourselves and in others. While thanksgiving is essential to the health and wellbeing of individual and communal life, it has to be learnt and maintained by a conscious effort of the will, mind and strength. It is a simple art with profound effects on self and others and yet it is rare and has to be learned. Like most things it is learnt by practice. We show gratitude by saying “thank you” sincerely when anybody is kind to us in many different ways such as giving us food, clothes, a place to stay, direction, advice, school fees, and any kind of support. We should tell God Almighty “thank you” in the morning first thing, in the evening last thing, midday and whenever we remember to do so all through day for all the good as well as the bad things we receive and experience, for being alive and for strength to carry in spite of all problems and obstacles.We can thank God and other people by being kind to those who need our help desperately. When we seek out those who are in most need and provide care for them we show our gratitude to God whom we do not see physically. But when we are mean and nasty to others then we are ungrateful to God who is most kind to us; for we are returning evil for good. Some people help us and do not need our help in terms of money or other material kind, we return them thanks by giving and caring for those who are less fortunate than us.Thanksgiving emanates from an attitude and we can pray and fill our hearts and minds with thoughts of thankfulness even amid difficulties and problems in life. One expert, Warren Wiersbe says, “Outlook determines outcome. If we see only the problems, we will be defeated; but if we see the possibilities in the problems, we can have victory.” In other words it is not so much what happens but how one interprets and one can choose to think positively about lots of things including the ugly ones. We can choose to see and acknowledge the good in people and situations which are thought to be unfortunate. We can consciously choose to find reasons to thank God and others even when times and things are tough with us. This will help us get rid of some of the negativity and make us cheerful amid trials and tribulations.We can also help others, especially those we have influence over (our children and dependents) by setting example and by gently teaching and encouraging them to be grateful to God and others in various situations of life. By learning and keeping the good habit of thankfulness we free ourselves of bitterness, envy, jealously and cultivate a positive attitude of faith, hope and goodwill towards all. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
DDTV: Earlier this week 80 pupils from County Donegal travelled to the National Concert Hall in Dublin for the finals of the Waltons School Music Competition. Since then those unlucky not to have been there have been keen to see the performance which landed Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin’s trophy and cheque for taking second place.Well, we’ve just received the video from Walton’s – and here it is.Click play to watch and enjoy the Letterkenny school pupils’ performance…. DDTV: WATCH VIDEO OF GAELSCOIL ADHAMHNÁIN’S STUNNING NATIONAL CONCERT HALL PERFORMANCE was last modified: May 15th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:gaelscoil ADHAMNÁINletterkennynational schoolvideoWaltons Music Competition 2014
“It’s always good to find that spark,” said Hoopa senior forward Blake … Hoopa >> The goal of any Hoopa Valley boys basketball team is to start fast and never truly let up the pace from there.The Warriors certainly accomplished that.Throw in solid defense, too, and good things happened.Four Hoopa Valley players scored in double figures as the Warriors led start to finish in an impressive 86-49 win over South Fork in the opening round of the Dick Niclai Tournament on Tuesday night.
Minister of arts and culture in South Africa, Paul Mashatile, bids delegates farewell at the closing ceremony of the four-day conference. Alaphia Wright, director of Unesco’s Southern African regional office in Windhoek, Namibia reflects on the event. Ministers and representatives of African governments pose for a group photograph to mark the end of the event.(Images: Valencia Talane) The Maropeng visitors centre at the Cradle of Humankind, which is one of South Africa’s eight world heritage sites(Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com)MEDIA CONTACTS•Mack Lewele Director of communications: arts and culture+27 12 441 3083•Reuben LefokoSA Naitonal Commission for Unesco+27 12 312 5154RELATED ARTICLES• World heritage in South Africa • Can heritage, development coexist? • New deal to protect Mapungubwe site • Maropeng sets green standardValencia TalaneParticipants at Africa’s first-ever international world heritage conference, held under the auspices of the Unesco World Heritage Centre, have declared the event to be a success.Under the theme Living with world heritage in Africa, the event was co-organised by the African World Heritage Fund and formed part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Unesco’s World Heritage Convention.South Africa’s Department of Arts and Culture, with the support of the Department of Environmental Affairs, was the official host for the event, which ran from 26-29 September at the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre in Benoni, east of Johannesburg.Government ministers and policy makers engaged community leaders from all over the continent, as well as academics and civil society, to discuss the most amicable ways to manage and protect existing and new world heritage sites on the continent.A joint statement released by the ministers present helped set the tone for the conference. In it they condemned the destruction of world-famous and irreplaceable heritage sites and objects by Islamic insurgents in Mali.A call was also made to the international community to support a cause to curb the trafficking of cultural objects and manuscripts from the historic town of Timbuktu in the same country.“We call upon all parties to the conflict to desist from destroying cultural heritage,” read the statement.Opening the conference, South Africa’s minister of arts and culture Paul Mashatile said: “The recent events in Mali are of concern not only to the people of Mali, but the entire continent and the world.”The Malian history, he added, opened a new chapter in the understanding of African civilisation, instilling significant pride in all Africans.“This conference has reminded us of the importance of ongoing dialogue in finding lasting solutions to challenges facing the continent and the world,” said Mashatile.The way forwardWith that said, participants in the conference’s various themed discussions deliberated on ideas to help protect Africa’s heritage sites and secure their preservation in future years by drawing up recommendations on the way forward.One of the statements of principle that delegates arrived at was the recognition of world heritage properties as unique and irreplaceable resources, meaning that states parties have a responsibility to ensure their long-term development and management.The term ‘states parties’ refers to countries which adhere to the World Heritage Convention and have agreed to identify and nominate properties on their national territory to be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List.Sustainable development and world heritage, according to another principle statement, should coexist, with neither being sacrificed for the benefit or survival of the other. The management of the sites should be central to development agendas and be integrated into larger plans by authorities.Delegates also called for communities living around heritage sites to be incorporated into management plans, as the role of the communities is central to the survival of the sites.Educational, social and financial support for the proper management of the properties has to be given in good faith because it is these communities that have historical and cultural knowledge of the sites.“This conference reaffirmed that all our world heritage properties belong to, and must be accessible, to all,” said Mashatile in his closing speech on 29 September. “They must first and foremost be managed in a manner that benefits communities living in and around those properties.”Private industries and heritage sitesOne of the recommendations made for the sustainable management of world heritage sites was that the private sector – particularly industries whose work can have a direct impact on the preservation of the sites – should connect with communities and implement best practices for doing business in those regions.The mining industry, represented by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), acknowledged that stronger working relations between the sector and governments would benefit the sites.In addition, states parties needed to respect and recognise the ICMM’s principles for non-members and therefore not grant licenses at world heritage properties to non-ICMM companies. Going this route, went the argument, would ensure that governance of the properties would remain within the standards set by the ICMM and states parties.Responsible communitiesOnce the concept of a local community has been defined within the context of listed world heritage sites and those that are yet to be listed, its dynamics – which would include cultural awareness of the site in question – should be taken into consideration in the planned listing.This will ensure that when the government steps in to empower such a community, the strategy will be built on already existing knowledge and will endeavour to equip future generations with that knowledge.Another recommendation was that the responsibility of strengthening organisational capacities of local communities, so that they can effectively participate in the management of sites in their areas, should lie with governments.For this to be possible, sustainable funding for conservation of the sites is also necessary, and would boost the development of the communities.Measures should always be in place to protect heritage properties from unlawful acts or decisions, through protective legislation that keeps up with changes within the communities.Delegates also concurred that there is no reason why world heritage sites should not drive the sustainable development of the communities around them. The 2006 Charter of the African Cultural Renaissance was cited as a benchmark that could help guide communities’ understanding of this role of a heritage site.Tourists bring valueHeritage sites can be developed as eco and cultural tourism destinations, which will then bring more benefits to surrounding communities. For this move to be feasible, however, the community should be educated about successful tourism ventures, and using their surroundings to improve their livelihood.Another recommendation was that proper monitoring processes be put in place to ensure that the community has the proper tools to keep up with changes in the socioeconomic environment of their bigger surroundings, such as their country and the world at large.Taking stock of issuesOnce the deliberations were over and recommendations noted down, it was the turn of the collective political leadership of the continent to declare the way forward on the issue of protecting heritage sites.Cirino Hiten Ofuho, the minister of culture in Africa’s youngest country, South Sudan, expressed his gratitude at having been included in the process of drawing up solid resolutions for the protection of the continent’s heritage.“We have a privileged position as South Sudan, because we can learn from mistakes made by other countries in the past,” he joked, adding that his country could also be viewed as a clean canvas on which to focus efforts to save the country’s heritage.In a gesture that received booming applause from delegates at the closing ceremony, the Nigerian representative government made an announcement, on behalf of that country’s minister of culture Edem Duke, of a pledge from his government of US$1-million towards the Africa World Heritage Fund.Mashatile said Africans must work to develop long-term plans on the sustainability of the continent’s heritage properties.“We emerge from this conference more convinced that we must protect our heritage sites and ensure that they also contribute towards the socioeconomic development of our societies,” he said.The resolutions and declaration of the conference will be tabled during the final occasion celebrating the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, scheduled for Japan in November 2012.
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