Guatemala City, Guatemala. April 10, 2018. Belize and Guatemala held a two-day event on the 8th and 9th of April 2018 in Guatemala City, entitled “The Belizean and Guatemalan Garifuna Culture as an Expression of Social Cohesion, Intercultural Dialogue and Promotion of Peace.” The aim of the event was to promote intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace.
The event consisted of presentations of both cultural and academic nature. These events were meant to showcase the historical coexistence of the communities living on the borders of Livingston and Puerto Barrios, Izabal, Guatemala, and the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts of Belize. The program had the full support of UNESCO, the Organization of American States, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation, the Garifuna Council of Belize and CODIRSA – the Presidential Commission Against Discrimination and Racism of Guatemala.
The event included cultural presentations by the Garifuna groups Lirahunu Satuye of Dangriga Town and Luwaruguma Guifu of Livingston, Guatemala. They performed in venues located in some of Guatemala City’s busiest outdoor centers, attracting large audiences. In addition to individual country performances, both groups collaborated in joint performances showcasing a celebration of unity through culture.
The program also included an academic conference which consisted of presentations by experts of both countries. Presenters from Belize included the President of the Belize National Garifuna Council, Ms. Sandra Miranda, Roy Cayetano and Sebastian Cayetano. Experts from Guatemala included Alfonso Arrivillaga, Dr. Gutberto Leiva and Olivia Núñez. The presentations reflected on the history of the Garinagu people, their culture and traditions. The event celebrated the uniqueness and oneness of the Garinagu across countries, as well as their unique and distinctive language, music and dance, which is recognized by UNESCO as world patrimony and an Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Guatemala and Belize share great cultural, ecological and patrimonial richness. Both nations are making the necessary efforts to resolve their historical territorial differences within the framework of the United Nations and International Law, seeking a lasting and peaceful solution to their dispute.
The event was organized through the joint efforts of the Embassy of Belize in Guatemala, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, UNESCO office in Kingston accredited to Belize and the UNESCO office in Guatemala.