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afri_artArt Africa Miami Arts Fair is a juried multidisciplinary exhibition of fine contemporary art from the global African Diaspora, situated in the epicenter of Miami's African-American cultural hub, Historic Overtown.  The central idea of Art Africa Miami is to present an array of visual works that pay homage to the centrality of Africa and its descendant diaspora's artistic contribution to the modern world. 

Art Africa Miami Arts Fair will be hosted in a tent/container hybrid model pavilion, which is sure to draw the curiosity of art enthusiasts, collectors, and aesthetes alike.This will give our fair goers and exhibitors, galleries and individual artists, an opportunity to experience an unparalleled body of work selected by a jury of art professionals whose contributions to the art world are extensive and of critical importance to both seasoned and emerging artists and galleries.   Art Africa Miami Arts Fair will host its Opening Reception at TheUrbanCollective on December 5, followed by our First Look benefit on December 6 at our site location in Historic Overtown.  Art Africa Miami exhibitions will run December 6-9.   The fair going experience will be enhanced by a number of live performances and panel discussions.  
Entry Process
Fill out the submission form on Art Africa Miami's Call to Artists page, providing your 100 word artist statement/ BIO and uploading 3 images of your preferred works to be shown during Art Africa Miami.  All images must be of publication quality i.e 300 dpi.  The artist statement should be no more than 100 words describing your body of work and exhibition experience. Entries must be received no later than Sept.24, 2012. The number of works included in Art Africa Miami Arts Fair will depend on the number of entries submitted and the space available.  

 

Despite Haiti's devastations and tumultous past, the country is poised to re-invent itself as an investment and tourism destination, according to Yamiche Alcondor reports in an article for USA Today.

At least eight hotels — including Comfort Inn, Best Western, and Marriott — plan to build or expand properties on the island-nation, according to Paul Altidor, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States. Haiti’s government is also revamping economic institutions and recruiting people with investment experience in an effort to streamline business endeavors and provide transparency to potential business partners. However, challenges such as homelessness, lack of infrastructure, and Haiti’s image as an international charity case threaten it’s ability to move forward, experts say.

“We’re trying to move away from survival mode to investment mode,” Altidor said. “We’re not convinced that sending humanitarian aid to Haiti is going to push us out of this poverty hole. We’re looking for capital and knowledge.”desitnation_haiti

Part of that move means Altidor, former vice president of programs and investments for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, sees his role as a roving one in which he seeks out and welcomes potential investors

It also means Haiti’s president, Michel Martelly, newly appointed Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe, and Altidor, who has been in office about a month, plan to revamp the country’s Center for the Facilitation of Investments, a sort of one-stop shop where people starting businesses in the country can get advice and process the necessary paperwork to make companies happen.

The country’s leaders also are hoping Haiti’s often “forgotten middle class,” some of whom are providing the funds to build and expand hotels in the country, will play a critical role in the country’s future, Altidor said.

Sitting in his office in Washington, D.C., last week, Altidor pointed to the Oasis Hotel, a $35 million hotel that will feature 130 rooms, three restaurants, and 14 shops, as a symbol of Haiti’s economic potential. Like many hotel projects in the country, Oasis is designed to serve mainly business travelers whose increased comfort, developers hope, will mean more economic progress.

The project, which began in 2008, is funded mainly by Haiti institutions and everyday Haitian citizens, said Jerry Tardieu, chief executive of the company developing the project. After the earthquake, many shareholders were killed or financially ruined. Since then, however, the project has regained local investors and is scheduled to open later this year in Pétion-Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, he said.

“We are very proud to offer Haiti this rare symbol of modernity,” said Tardieu, who spoke from his home in Port-au-Prince. “We have started to find certain stability that will translate to us receiving more tourists.”

For Altidor, the hotel is an example of Haitians taking hold of their economy as well as a chance to show off Haiti’s long coastline and create jobs for local residents. “It’s a symbol of what the new Haiti could look like,” he said.

Other projects offer similar hope, developers say. Haiti has fewer than 1,000 hotel rooms compared the 50,000 hotels rooms in the Dominican Republic, according to Altidor.

“People are going to be more apt to do business if they are comfortable with where they are staying,” said Mark Williams, vice president of North American development for Best Western. A group of investors will open a $12 million Best Western franchise in Pétion-Ville by the end of this year. The project had been planned since 2008 but was set back by the quake, he said.

Jean-Marie Wolff, of Westbury, N.Y., is one of several Haitian-Americans who formed an investment group that bought Cap Lamandou Hotel in Jacmel, known as an arts and culture center, for nearly $3 million in 2006. The hotel will be re-branded as a Comfort Inn later this year to allow online booking and name recognition, he said. Plans are also underway to expand the hotel from 32 rooms to 49.

Wolff, whose group got their capital from U.S. and international banks, said Haiti’s diaspora must make an effort to help in the country’s rebirth. “If these people start to re-establish themselves in Haiti you will see a difference,” he said.

Digicel, a Haitian telecommunications provider, plans to open a $45-million, 173-room Marriott by 2014 in Port-au-Prince. At least four other hotels, El Rancho, Karibe Hotel, Kinam Hotel, and Le Village de Port-Jacmel are being expanded or are under construction.

However, in the midst of this economic renaissance, challenges remain, said Jocelyn McCalla, a New York-based Haiti expert and former head of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights. While Altidor points to the number of people in tents — down to 400,000 from 1.5 million just after the quake — as a sign of progress, McCalla said the government has forcibly removed people from such encampments. Many now reside in shoddy homes along mountainous illegal ghettos, he said.

The country’s infrastructure remains underdeveloped and Haiti’s credibility remains weak as the country continues to be regarded by many as a charity case rather than a business opportunity, he said.

Haiti is years away from being an investment or tourism destination and must develop cities outside of Port-au-Prince to succeed, McCalla said. The country lacks good roads, stable electricity, a proper sanitation system, and the resources needed to train middle class people such as plumbers, carpenters, and construction workers, he and others said.

“Most of downtown Port-au-Prince remains a disaster area,” McCalla said, adding that safety and transportation are among the country’s biggest impediments. “The average tourist is not going to be interested in Haiti.”

Some, like Mireille Toussaint, vice president of Haiti Tourism, says part of changing minds is about creating first-hand experiences. Toussaint’s Tampa, Fla.-based company takes small groups into the island-nation for excursions. “We’re trying to promote the hidden beauty of Haiti,” she said. “It’s really tiring to see only tragedy.”

Meanwhile, Altidor says the country’s government remains committed to changing Haiti’s international image despite any barriers.

“We face a major deficit in credibility when it comes to investment,” he said. “People look at Haiti, look at this embassy, look at me with this pity as opposed to someone they can do business with. That’s our biggest challenge.”

Source: Repeating Islands

For the original report go to http://tucsoncitizen.com/usa-today-news/2012/06/10/haitis-makeover-from-devastation-to-destination/

    Zimbabwe is set to host the Africa Travel Association's 37th Annual World Congress in Victoria Falls in May 18-22. This conference is as a precursor to the co-hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization General Assembly conference with Zambia in August.  The five-day congress in the  country’s capital, will offer  a wide range of networking events, including receptions, gala dinners and the ATA Young Professionals Program, representing travel, tourism and hospitality students and young professionals from North America and Africa.ATA

     “It is indeed an honor to be the proud host of the ATA’s 2012 World Congress. The 37th annual Congress in Zimbabwe will afford the delegates an opportunity to experience our many attractions.” said the Honorable Walter Mzembi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry of the Republic of Zimbabwe. “We look forward to telling our story about Zimbabwe, A World of Wonders.”

     At least 300 participants are expected to attend including tourism ministers, tourism board heads, private sector leaders, travel industry professionals, including product buyers and sellers, travel trade media, scholars and African Diaspora leaders.

       ATA executive director Mr Edward Bergman made the announcement following an ATA official trip to Zimbabwe hosted by Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, where the delegation met with representatives from the tourism sector from Zimbabwe.

During this visit, the ATA delegation also met with Ambassador Charles Ray, US Ambassador to Zimbabwe who expressed his support with the following statement: “Zimbabwe offers a ‘World of Wonders’ to tickle the fancy and sense of adventure of the full array of international travelers…Your visit to Zimbabwe will bring a smile to your face for a lifetime.  I applaud ATA’s vision in hosting its 37th Annual Congress in Victoria Falls and opening the world’s eyes to what Zimbabwe has to offer.  I look forward to seeing you by the Falls in May.”

Bergman said that the 2012 congress should surpass all expectations and is an event not to be missed.  "ATA was last in Zimbabwe in 1988, when the congress was held in Harare and, after 23 years, we are proud to be heading back. We are positive that the 2012 congress will attract leading tourism experts from across the globe,” he said.

 Zimbabwe, also known as “a world of wonders,” boasts a wide array of attractions, including its own seven wonders: (1) People and culture; (2) History and heritage; (3) Great Zimbabwe (grand medieval palace); (4) Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya); (5) Wildlife and nature; (6) Eastern Highlands; and (7) Lake Kariba. Delegates get to do a tour during the Host Country Day and by participating in pre and post congress tours. Zimbabwe hosting the ATA is testimony to the improving tourism industry, which last year was estimated to have grown by around 10 percent.

Established in 1975, ATA is one of the leading global trade associations promoting travel and tourism to Africa and strengthening intra-Africa partnerships. The organization partners with the African Union Commission to promote the sustainable development of tourism across the African continent.

For more information on ATA, visit. To learn more about Zimbabwe, visit www.zimbabwetourism.net or www.tourism.gov.zw.

 

 

bell_headshotThe founder of the twenty-one-year-old Elegba Folklore Society in Richmond, Va., Janine Yvette Bell is a multifaceted African Diaspora culture and heritage professional. Elegba, from the Yoruba cosmology of West Africa, is an Orisa or intercessor who opens the roads, bringing clarity out of confusion.  The Elegba Folklore Society is a year-round, lively celebration of African and African American culture.    

As its administrative and artistic director, Bell manages the entire full-service cultural arts and education organization that specializes in festivals, events, performing, teaching, visual arts presentations and cultural history tours. A visionary who knows where she wants to take the Elegba Folklore Society, she insures its quality through her own strong leadership abilities and through ongoing relationships with specialists in the field. "Because I recognize the importance of art as a business and as an educational tool, I am committed to building an organization that withstands the test of time," says Bell.

The Elegba Folklore Society has received the distinction of being Richmond’s Cultural Ambassador, an honor bestowed by the city, where Bell is a member of the Richmond Center Stage Resident Company Association and an appointee to the Mayor’s Tourism Commission. A former member of the steering committee of the Richmond Folk Festival and board of directors of the Alliance for the Performing Arts, she represents the Society as a founding member of CultureWorks, where she was selected to Richmond’s Cultural Plan Task Force. The UNC-Chapel Hill graduate has also served on the city’s Landmark Theatre Study Commission and as a mentor for youth seeking career guidance in the arts professions.

Certified by New York’s Kennedy Center, her exceptional work with the Elegba Folklore Society has also been recognized by other cultural centers and organizations including the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s DanceCookie_in_action Africa, New York’s Mandela Cultural Center, Women in Theatre, Nubian Village Academy and Writers’ Block International. Under Bell's leadership the society has received the coveted Teresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts, Baltimore’s Mayor’s Citation for Excellence in Community Service, the Defender of the Year Award and the Balafon West African Dance Company’s Legacy Award.   

In addition to daily operations, Bell develops and directs the Elegba Folklore Society's three major annual festivals: 'Juneteenth: A Freedom Celebration', 'Down Home Family Reunion' and 'Capital City Kwanzaa'. She also creates and guides cultural history tours as a solo interpreter and sometimes with an artistic ensemble. Among tours she conducts is the Richmond Slave Trail that she helped the city to put in place. When doing this tour, participants get to experience a slave reenactment and learn about some of the many black heritage sites in Richmond. Bell is also in charge of the Elegba Society’s Cultural Center where she curates, mounts and markets art exhibitions throughout the year. Corollary programming at the center includes gallery tours, art-making classes, invited performances, discussion groups and receptions.

A dancer, folklorist and cultural historian wrapped all in one, she creates repertoire, provides artistic direction and leads performances in concerts and dance theatre throughout a multi-state region and internationally.  She has performed African dance professionally since 1981 and has studied dance and drumming with noted Senegalese artists and Nigerian master drummers, as well as with other artistic greats from Trinidad, New Guinea, Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire. "Participating in dance and cultural performances in Senegal, Europe and Cuba, and artist retreats in places like Jamaica have allowed me  to broaden my worldviews and cultural connections," says Bell.

An advocate for blending culture, heritage and art in education, she collaborates with schools and educational institutions to promote multicultural awareness. As the representative of the Elegba Folklore Society’s, she has also served as artist-in-residence in schools, in after-school and summer programs and at universities.  Because she is committed to art education, she has worked with the Governance Committee of the Arts Council of Richmond's Partners in the Arts, an arts-in-education initiative, and as an adjunct professor in department of dramatic arts and dance at the University of Mary Washington.

In addition to all of her artistic and  administrative abilities, Bell is also skilled in the field of communications. Her primary focus as a communications specialist is public relations, promotions and media, but she also delivers equally as well doing profiles, proposals, critiques and travel writing – domestically and internationally. Having been called “very persuasive” by Virginia’s former governor, the Honorable Timothy M. Kaine, Bell’s style and command of language gets the message across whether written or oral. Never tiring, she continuously designs and executes PR and promotional campaigns for the Elegba Folklore Society, and has landed numerous front page and cover stories for newspapers and magazines, and also features for television and radio. elegba_logo

In addition to her degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bell has done graduate work there as a Carnegie-Mellon Fellow. She has also done post-graduate study at Sangamon University in Illinois and John Tyler Community College in Virginia. For more information on Bell and the Elegba Folklore Society, visit www.efsinc.org.

 

James_FernieJames Fernie, the director of Uthando South Africa, grew up with a deep sense of compassion for the people victimized by the cruel system of Apartheid. This compassion would later lead to his work with Uthando, a unique and innovative Non-Profit and Fair Trade in Tourism accredited company whose aim is to raise funds and other forms of assistance for community development projects in South Africa. Under Fernie’s leadership, Uthando (which means love) became an important organization in the South African community with one of the best models for helping travelers to better understand local issues in a responsible way.

Growing up in a highly politicized home in the Eastern Cape of South Africa during a time of great social unrest and political turmoil inspired Fernie’s desire to become a change agent. This particular region of South Africa was, and still remains, one of the more impoverished areas in South Africa where people live in dire conditions with significant social problems. It was Fernie’s parents who instilled in him compassion for victims of Apartheid and a desire to help the oppressed. During his teenage years in the 1980’s, his quest to make a difference took the form of political activism and resistance to the Apartheid policies.

monique_wells_headshotWhen researching burial sites of African –Americans in Paris, Dr. Monique Wells found that one of America’s finest 20th century painters had been laid to rest in an unmarked grave.  It was then that she began a mission to honor Beauford Delaney, a figurative and abstract expressionist painter from Knoxville, Tennessee who moved to Paris in 1953. She felt that the least she could do for this well-loved and respected artist was to help keep his remains interred in a descent gravesite. She went on to raise money for a tombstone and later found Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the legacy of Delaney alive, where she serves as chairman.

A culture enthusiast in her own right, this act sums up what Dr. Wells is all about. Before taking on the Delaney project, Dr. Wells had already made it her mission to preserve, protect and promote culture and heritage in Paris. Her specialty is the culture and heritage of people of African descent in Paris. Co-owner of Discover Paris!, she has created Afro-centric itineraries, self-guided African-American history walking tours, a comprehensive Black Paris bus tour, and African-American-hosted culinary activities for those wanting an in-depth travel experience in the City of Light. This unique travel-planning service has provided services tailored for the African-American traveler to Paris since 1999. This year Discover Paris! provided two walks for the U.S. Embassy in Paris– one for Black History Month and one for Women’s History Month.

peter_michaelPeter H. Michael is the founder and publisher of ‘Underground Railroad Free Press’, the nation's highest circulation Underground Railroad news publication. Through its web-based Lynx and Datebook services, Free Press serves as nexus of the international Underground Railroad community.  Michael is the founder of the annually awarded Free Press Prizes for leadership, preservation and advancement of knowledge of today's Underground Railroad, the top honors bestowed in the Underground Railroad community. He is also a co-founder and officer of Friends of the Underground Railroad, an international organization which promotes the memory of the Underground Railroad and the preservation of remaining Underground Railroad safe-houses and routes.

Michael’s work related to the Underground Railroad has roots in his family’s history. He is the owner and operator of Cooling Springs Farm that was purchased by his family in 1768. One of the few still-existing Underground Railroad safe-houses, it has been in the family for seven generations. Michael’s great-great-grandparents and their children once used the farm and its spring house as a haven for Underground Railroad freedom seekers through the end of the Civil War. One of the nation’s most visited Underground Railroad sites, Cooling Springs Farm is believed to be the nation’s only Underground Railroad safe-house still owned by the same family since Underground Railroad times, or one of only two. Michael and his wife Vicki have opened Cooling Springs Farm as a historic site to the public and to a number of national and local Underground Railroad and historical organizations for tours and study.

fallsOne of today's busiest border crossings between the United States and Canada, and a much used route by freedom seekers in Underground Railroad days, is about to be remade into a modern international gateway showcasing the Underground Railroad story.

By 2013, Niagara Falls, New York, will have a new Amtrak station which will include an Underground Railroad interpretive center. The project, begun in 1987, will be located in the renovated historic Customs House at the Whirlpool Bridge crossing the Niagara River into Canada.

The interpretive center is being funded by the New York State Underground Railroad Commission and the state Community Assistance Program, and will be managed by Niagara Falls' North Star Initiative.

Riggs Ward Design will advise on the layout and Underground Railroad story line of the interpretive center.

United States Senator Charles Schumer of New York secured federal funding and cleared hurdles in Washington to get the project completed. Said Schumer, "The longer the trip, the sweeter it is when you arrive at the destination and we have arrived.”


Source: www.urrfreepress.com

DevonHouseKingstonKingston, Jamaica, has taken some hard knocks over the years as crime and violence in certain areas propelled the capital city into the spotlight.

It happened again in May as police attempted to arrest a suspected drug lord in west Kingston. The ensuing violence made headlines and prompted a multipronged campaign to assure visitors that Jamaica’s resort areas, far removed from Kingston, were safe, secure and welcoming.

Kingston can be a tough city to love, but there are gems here well worth a visit, including the Bob Marley Museum, Emancipation Park, the National Gallery and the Hope Botanical Gardens.


jamaicaAgri-Business, Sports and Faith Tourism Linkages among Issues to be Discussed

The 19th Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) on Sustainable Tourism will take place in Kingston, Jamaica from September 30 to October 4th at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. Top-level media from across the region, North America and Europe have registered and the numbers who wish to be present for the discussions examining the Caribbean's primary industries have continued to grow.

Different groups and individuals with a passion for agri-tourism, faith-based and other tourism linkage initiatives will participate in this conference in addition to tourism and government officials.

UNESCO
Message from Ms Irina Bokova,
Director-General of UNESCO,
on the occasion of the International Day
for the Remembrance of the
Slave Trade and its Abolition
23 August 2010

 

In this International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, remembrance of the slave trade and slavery, one of the worst tragedies in the history of humanity, prompts us to reflect on possible ways of alleviating and overcoming such painful memories.

Since its establishment in 1998, the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition has afforded us the opportunity every year to pay tribute to the struggle led by the slaves themselves to recover their dignity and freedom. The uprising that took place on the island of Santo Domingo in the night of 22 to 23 August 1791 led to Haiti’s independence – the first victory of slaves over their oppressors. This revolution had worldwide repercussions and a considerable impact on liberation struggles in the Latin American and Caribbean countries, some of which are celebrating the bicentenary of their independence this year.

The Slave Route Project has provided UNESCO with significant experience and expertise, enabling the Organization to contribute substantially to this critical reflection on the ways and means of securing the reconciliation and rapprochement of peoples through the shared legacy of the tragedy. On the basis of the new strategy defined for the Project, UNESCO will continue to implement innovative intersectoral activities and information and awareness-raising campaigns to disseminate and ensure recognition of historical facts and of the substantial cultural interaction arising from the slave trade and slavery.

In order to ensure the vitality and sustainability of the project, new themes are accordingly being addressed with a view to studying this issue in greater depth: (i) African presence in the world; (ii) the psychological consequences of the slave trade and slavery; (iii) the transfer of knowledge and skills from Africa to the rest of the world; (iv) tourism for remembrance; and (v) cultural and creative industries arising from the tragedy.

The Slave Route Project is a highly ambitious initiative with its sights set resolutely on the future, to the extent that it contributes in the long term to enhancing mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue. The challenge of “living together” in our multicultural societies implies recognition of each person’s history and memory, and at the same time the sharing of a common heritage, in order to transcend past
tragedies.

On the occasion of this International Day, I invite all UNESCO’s partners, including national authorities, international and non-governmental organizations and civil society, to provide opportunities for exchange and reflection that place emphasis on the beneficial effects of cultural diversity, recognizing the importance of the continuous transfers and exchanges among cultures and the links established since time immemorial.


Irina Bokova

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