The Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery: New Directions in Teaching and Learning, edited by Paul E. Lovejoy and Benjamin Bowser

The Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery: New Directions in Teaching and Learning, edited by Paul E. Lovejoy and Benjamin Bowser

Picture Credit: Unesco -

The Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery: New Directions in Teaching and Learning, edited by Paul E. Lovejoy and Benjamin Bowser, was formally launched at UNESCO in Paris on April 16, 2013. The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, the President of the UNESCO Executive Board, Alissandra Cummins, and the President of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project, Maria Elisa Velasquez, praised the publication as an important milestone in fulfilling the goals of UNESCO. Professor Paul Lovejoy, co-editor of the book and former Director of the Harriet Tubman Institute, explained the aims of the book in addressing the difficulties of teaching the subject of slavery in the classroom and other disseminating knowledge of slavery as a crime against humanity. The presentation took place in the presence of Ambassadors, Representatives of Member States of UNESCO and the UNESCO Executive Board.The book is published by Africa World Press. 

In praising the publication of the book, the Director-General underlined the tragic history of the slave trade and slavery. The book focuses on the pedogogical and psychological dimensions of teaching and learning and as such represents a unique contribution to the humanistic ideal of promoting universal human rights -- hence, the importance of making this history an engine for intercultural dialogue in our plural societies.

"Education is essential for raising awareness about the slave trade and slavery and for better understanding the societies we live in today," said Irina Bokova.

The Director-General underscored the role of UNESCO in transmitting the history of the transatlantic slavery and its abolition as being essential to the struggle against racism and for the observance of human rights, of human dignity and for building peace.

“The story of the slave trade raises issues that affect the very foundation of our humanity”, she declared.  

The Director-General highlighted the importance of exploring the transmission of history in textbooks, teaching materials and teacher training. She emphasized the need to integrate the issue of slavery into formal education as a lever for international reconciliation, mutual understanding and social inclusion. 

The Chair of the Executive Board, Alessandra Cummins from Barbados, emphasized the need for a breakthrough of scientific research on the history of the transatlantic slave trade, which, she said "is a topic still absent in textbooks, in films, and in the media".

She further underscored the "expectations generated through the Slave Route Project in different regions and countries over the last ten years" had led to considerable breakthroughs, including the identification by the United Nations of the Decade for People of African Descent (2013-2023).

The Chair urged "UNESCO to directly contribute to raising awareness of the malignant influences of the slave trade in neglected regions, such as the Indian Ocean, Middle East and Asia".

Professor Paul Lovejoy noted the progress in raising public awareness since the inception of UNESCO's Slave Route project in 1994, underscoring its paramount objective "to do justice to the past" and "to identify and recognize global diversity" that has arisen from the ashes of slavery.


Original Story: