The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Partners for change at the intersection of academics and advocacy.


How Does One Assign Value to Culture?


Garifuna Cultural Heritage Status

On 18 May 2001, UNESCO’s Director-General proclaimed the Garifuna language, music and dance to be one of the first 19 Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. UNESCO’s proclamation highlighted the distinctive value of the Garifuna cultural heritage, while also underlining its vulnerability – particularly in the face of cultural tourism, encroachment upon native lands and other forces of globalization-and recognizing the urgency of taking action to safeguard Garifuna culture.

Selected by an international jury of 18 members, the Masterpieces were chosen for their outstanding value. This first proclamation highlighted the value of the intangible cultural heritage and underlined its vulnerability, particularly in the face of globalization, and the urgency of taking action for its safeguarding.

In creating an international distinction for the intangible cultural heritage, UNESCO drew the international community’s attention to the importance of giving recognition to this heritage, which is essential to the preservation of the identity and cultural diversity of peoples. With their exceptional value from an artistic, historical and anthropological point of view, the 19 cultural spaces and forms of popular and traditional expression proclaimed, represent as many different testimonies to the richness and diversity of the intangible cultural heritage throughout the world: 4 in Africa, 7 in Asia, 4 in Europe and 4 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity

The Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity is an international distinction created by UNESCO in 1997. It concluded in 2006 with the entry into force of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. For information about the Proclamation, please visit the UNESCO website.

Musician Andy Palacio Preserves Fading African-Caribbean Culture

To hear him discuss his efforts to prevent his culture's extinction, and to listen to a sample of his music, please click here for National Public Radio's recent interview with Andy Palacio.

Please join us for this semester’s Happy Hour Speaker Series.

Past Happy Hour Speaker Series schedules and speaker information can be found in the Series Archives.