International Coalition of Sites of Conscience: A Museum for Guantánamo?

How Sites of Conscience can stimulate public awareness on detention and migration in a new political era

Photo from International Coalition of Sites of Conscience is a worldwide network of “Sites of Conscience” – historic sites specifically dedicated to remembering past struggles for justice and addressing their contemporary legacies. Sites of Conscience, like the Terezín Memorial in the Czech Republic, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in the US, the Gulag Museum at Perm-36 in Russia, and the District Six Museum in South Africa, are places of memory – such as historic sites, place-based museums or memorials – that confront the history of what happened there and its contemporary implications and foster public dialogue on social issues to build lasting cultures of human rights.

From June 26–28, 2009, the International Coalition and the National Civil Rights Museum – site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – are hosting an international colloquium, “A Museum for Guantánamo?: how Sites of Conscience can stimulate public awareness on detention and migration in a new political era” to develop strategies for how museums in diverse contexts can foster ongoing civic participation in key civil rights and civil liberties issues. The colloquium will convene a select group of international leaders experienced in saving, preserving and interpreting places remembering past struggles over migration, detention, and torture, and those working to address these issues in the present. Exclusive working groups of Sites of Conscience directors, preservationists, and educators, along with advocates attempting to reframe current public debates on migration and protect civil liberties today will develop strategies for activating Sites of Conscience as effective spaces for local and international debate and grassroots engagement in these issues. These strategies will be implemented at Sites of Conscience across the world following the event. Participants in the colloquium constitute a multidisciplinary group with wide-ranging international experience. Speakers at the opening plenary include Doudou Diène, Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and former UNESCO Director of the Division of Intercultural Projects (currently Division of Intercultural Dialogue) and Héctor Timerman, Ambassador of to the United States, Argentina, among others.

For more information about the colloquium, please visit:

Reprinted from:
Australia ICOMOS E-Mail News No. 381

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