National Civil Rights Museum Hosts Sites of Conscience from Around the World

Thursday, June 25, 2009 | 10:13am

National Civil Rights Museum Hosts Sites of Conscience from Around the World

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Starting Friday, June 26, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience is holding its first Summit at a US Site of Conscience – the National Civil Rights Museum. Leaders in human rights and heritage from Bangladesh, Argentina, Russia and South Africa, among others, are gathering in Memphis for the 2009 Sites of Conscience Summit. The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience is a worldwide network of historic sites, museums and memorials, like the National Civil Rights Museum, that remember the history of what happened at the site to open dialogue across differences on today’s important social issues. Each year, the International Coalition holds a Summit at a model Site of Conscience.
 
This year, representatives of Sites as far apart and varied as Memoria Abierta (Argentina), the Liberation War Museum (Bangladesh), Constitution Hill (South Africa), and the Gulag Museum at Perm-36 (Russia), will come to Memphis, to learn from the National Civil Rights Museum and share how museums in diverse contexts can be spaces for the public to engage in key civil rights issues in this new political era. As part of the Summit, participants will tour the National Civil Rights Museum and observe and analyze the Museum’s model educational programs. They will also share their own latest work and together, generate diverse principles for using Sites of Conscience to engage visitors in identifying, discussing and exploring ways to act on the civil rights issues they care most about.
 
The Summit opens on Friday evening with a welcoming ceremony for the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. Doudou Diène, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance will speak about the significance of heritage sites for civil rights. Hosted at City Hall, the ceremony will include proclamation from the Mayors’ Offices, recognizing the international significance of the National Civil Rights Museum. On Saturday morning at 9 a.m., a public discussion, “Remembering Guantánamo, 1898 – Tomorrow” at the FedEx Institute at the University of Memphis is free and open to the public.
 
CONTACT: Gwen Harmon,Director of Governmental and Community Affairs, National Civil Rights Museum
Telephone: + 1 901 5219699 x 241; Mobile: + 1 901 3316374; E-mail: gharmon@civilrightsmuseum.org
Bix Gabriel, Director of Communications, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience
Telephone: + 1 646.755.6183; Mobile: + 1 917 853 5980; E-mail: bgabriel@sitesfofconscience.org

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