No one speaks the language of Cultures better than World Heritage Cultural Center and nothing can capture the imagination more than telling great stories through the arts.
What is Cultural Identity?
The United States is a nation of blended cultures. Throughout the centuries, alongside Native Americans, immigrants and their American-born children have been a part of this patchwork we call America.
It is not uncommon for those who are born out of their native land to feel lost in a sea of different cultures and backgrounds—retaining a cultural identity provides a familiar foundation onto which a life in a new land can be built.
Our Mission is to change Society in a way where people can contribute to what matters most: Humanity. We have created a common ground where any Culture in the World can come and celebrate their way of life through the Arts & Food; while making a positive impact through knowledge & charity.
Arts integration is a powerful force that will allow people to experience things directly and develop a strong self-identity that connects them to their cultural roots. To understand where you come from and where others come from will help to foster a greater understanding and respect for different cultural values and customs.
WHCC primary services are provided after school and during the summer, for all ages, including special programming for senior citizens and those with special needs. We offer classes and workshops—onsite or offsite—including dance, music, acting, creative writing, and the media arts and more. WHCC also connects and provides opportunities to receive scholarships, internships, mentoring, skill development, and networking opportunities for our members.
Additionally, WHCC connects with existing charities to help make a bigger impact, instead of reinventing the wheel. Organizations we have worked with are among American Cancer Society, Be A “STAR” Campaign, Daniel’s Music Foundation, and Alex Lemonade Stand among other organizations that are in process of being established.
Sattie I. Persaud
Co-Founder, WHCC Acting Director Accountant/ Screenplay Writer (NY)
Sattie Persaud came to the United States from Suriname with the hopes of gaining a college education. As it turned out, she had much to teach us herself.
Sattie broke the cycle of seven generations of women married at or before the age of thirteen. She went on to become the first in her family to make it past the third grade, and attend college, completing a B.A. in accounting from Pace University and a degree in Screenwriting from the New York Film Academy. She has written two screenplays and is presently working on her first novel, while managing a day job as treasury manager for the United Technologies Corporation. She has an impressive resume that spans multinational corporations such as IBM, UBS, and Lehman Brothers. Embracing her roots, though, led her to found the World Heritage Cultural Center.
“The Universe gave me a chance to fulfill my dream of getting an education, something no one can take away from me,” she began. “Witnessing your most intimate dream come true is the most beautiful feeling. Because I wanted to give back to the Universe, I thought about what I value at my core. It’s family. So I started the WHCC to share my overwhelming love for my fellow humans.”
This overwhelming love led her to present international culture on a global platform.
It may be difficult to understand how someone growing up in a small, low-technology nation could feel so connected to all of humanity, but Sattie explained that Suriname is culturally diverse itself.
“My parents taught us that love extends beyond the walls of your home,” she said. “We’re all one Family, one Human Race. Diversity is strength.” From her childhood exposure to the best that other cultures offer, Sattie learned that different is beautiful, and she wanted others to experience this same love of cultures—other’s as well as their own.
In the last century, we have truly become a global world. Humans migrate, immigrate, and escape to lands far from where they were raised.
“I began WHCC because I want to help people define their roots,” Sattie said. “Frequently, those born outside their native land feel lost in a sea of different cultures and backgrounds. Having a personal cultural identity, as well as an understanding of other cultures, is important. My own cultural identity shaped who I am.”
Avinash Indar Persaud
Business Entrepreneur and Student
”In Suriname, the beauty of each Culture, is shown in their food, their clothes, their mannerism. Here in the United States, the beauty of cultures are brought out at annual celebrations or festivities, sometimes only recognized in the home you are in and not the entire United States. WHCC is changing the way people think about culture. Culture is something that is needed in our everyday lives, to recognize how precious our values and customs are. WHCC is giving people the opportunity to experience their heritage directly through the arts and food.”
Chetranie Gita Daka
Co-Founder Full-time Mother
”We need a place to welcome anyone from any part of the world and still make them feel at home in the light of Diversity.”
Anindita Anu Nanda
Christine M. Scott
Advisory Board Members
Dr. Shellie Hipsky
Priyanka Bose, Global Ambassador of WHCC
Priyanka Bose is an Indian stage and film actor and a model. She is best known for her role in the 2016 Australian film Lion, which had six 2017 Oscar nominations, including best picture. Bose played Kamla Munshi, the main character’s birth mother, and starred alongside Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, and Nicole Kidman. Based on the book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly, Lion tells Brierly’s story of being adopted by an Australian family
and his search for his birth family 25 years later. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016 and was released in the United States that November. It was directed by Garth Davis.
Bose performed in the stage production NIRBHAYA, which premiered at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. As a play that addresses the shame that prevents survivors of gender-based violence from speaking out, NIRBHAYA won the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award for its focus on human rights. It also won the Scotsman Fringe First Award and the Herald Angel Award for Outstanding New Play.
Bose’s portrayal of Gangor in the 2010 Italian film of the same name is another of her most well-known roles. The Indian tribal woman, Gangor, meets a man covering a story about the exploitation of her people after a photograph of her breastfeeding changes her life for the worse. The film is based on political activist Mahashweta Devi’s Breast Stories. Bose starred alongside Samrat Chakrabarti and Adil Hussain in this film, directed by Italo Spinelli. At the 2011 New Jersey Independent South Asian Film Festival in America, Bose won the Best Actress award for her role in Gangor.
Bose began her career by performing with amateur theatre groups and working as a dancer with two companies. She trained in Kathak, Manipuri, and ballet, and landed roles as a dancer in films.
Bose also actively supports environmentally friendly and sustainable industries. Most recently, she joined forces with actress Suzy Amis Cameron for her Green Dress Red Carpet campaign. For the 2017 Oscars, she wore a sustainable Vivienne Westwood gown in support of environmentally friendly practices. Proceeds from the campaign go to the environmental non-profit MUSE School in Calabasas, Calif.
Noted for collaborating with independent, eco-conscious design labels, Bose has also modeled for Anavila, Nor Black Nor White, and Pause.
As a human rights activist, Bose also works with filmmaker Megha Ramaswamy producing short films under the label Cause Effect. The socially aware productions explore stories about women’s and children’s health and social issues.
Bose is the first international ambassador of the World Heritage Cultural Center a New York-based non-profit that creates a cultural common ground for celebrating different ways of life through arts and food, while positively impacting the world with knowledge and charity. The Center began in 2005 and works with over 300 cultural groups in the United States with ambassadors visiting eight cities each year.
Having already portrayed many strong women characters in film and theater, Bose has become an actor who enjoys developing author-backed roles. She looks forward to interpreting similar roles in the future, especially those that address difficult social and human rights issues.
Terry Gajraj, Guyanese Ambassador of WHCC
“PACK UP ME GRIP & LEH ME GO”
The Terry Gajraj Story
By Roshan Shiwcharran, GuyanaChunes.com
Heart pounding, butterflies out of control, Terry Gajraj paced back & forth nervously backstage at the Brightstar Productions “Indo-Caribbean Show” in Toronto, Canada. Terry was about to share the stage for the very first time with many of his Idols to sing in front of 8,000 hungry fans. This moment forever changed his life. “When I stepped on that stage, I felt like I was struck by lightning,” recalls the artist who was representing Guyana at the All-Star Concert. “I had that aha moment of OMG! This is what I want to do for the rest of my life”!
Terry never stopped.
He has dominated the Guyanese music scene for the past 25 years. He released his debut Album ” Soca Lambada” in 1990 but it was “Guyana Baboo” in 1994 that established him as a household name & propelled him to International acclaim. As a son of the soil, Terry is the most toured artist to emerge out of Guyana & whose success in promoting Guyanese Music & Culture around the world remains unmatched.
Here are 12 brief highlights of an eventful career.
He has further embraced his role model status as a celebrity spokesman for the Save Abee Charitable Foundation for Kids in Guyana. For the past 5 years, Terry & the Save Abee Team organized many Fundraisers in Canada & USA with 100% of proceeds donated to educate kids in the field of Computer Technology based on the “teach a man to fish” philosophy”. It has evolved with success, to not only represent his ideals to give back to those in need but most importantly to showcase the goodwill and strong community spirit of the Guyanese people that Terry represents as their musical ambassador.
Terry Gajraj grew up in Fyrish Village, Guyana. As a poor country boy, he had no TV in his home, so his only entertainment was learning to play every single musical instrument he could get his hands on. Having no TV was a blessing in disguise. Dance-inspiring Soca Chutney rhythms and a knack for Guyanese lyrics have made the charismatic Terry Gajraj one of Guyana’s most successful vocalists. That poor country boy is now an International Star who has made an indelible mark on the musical history of Guyana.
“Yuh can tek me outta Guyana, but you kyan tek Guyana outta me”
Be an Ambassador
If you have a passion for the Arts, Culture and Heritage, we encourage you to become an ambassador for WHCC.
A few responsibilities of a Cultural Ambassador for WHCC where you help make a difference one Culture at a time:
1.Invite a Friend. Next time you are planning to volunteer or attend a special event for WHCC, invite a friend. By engaging others with our nonprofit, you have multiplied your involvement and impact with WHCC.
2.Social Media. Share with your network the information about WHCC’s upcoming events and projects. Sign up on website to receive the latest news; Join us on Social Media FB, IG, T, P;
3.Raise Money. Don’t shy away from the opportunity to help raise money for the organization to fulfill its mission. Keep your eyes and ears open for new fundraising opportunities for WHCC and support the organization’s efforts to raise money.
4.Connect. Understand the qualifications to receive services/programs from the WHCC organization so you can connect those in need of services/programs with the WHCC. You can be the one to help others benefit from the programs and services offered by WHCC. WHCC is not here to reinvent the wheel, so honorable partnerships are encouraged.
5.Advocate. Share public policy messages with elected officials about issues that impact our nonprofit organization.
6.Volunteer. Get involved and actively participate in volunteer opportunities
7.Tell a coworker. Next time you are hanging out at the water cooler, talk with some of your coworkers about your recent involvement and interactions with the WHCC. Perhaps they never knew of your involvement and were always interested in learning more.
8.Donate. Funding is a major aspect of driving several projects and programs and being a non-profit, our support system is our community members/volunteers/ambassadors. All donations are tax deductible and every bit helps. A current ambassador added us to UBS’s donations list and donated $2500 in 2018.
There is a timeless esteem that goes with a Title of being a representative for breaking down cultural barriers and bringing people together in harmony. We hope to hear from you soon.
“Personally, my vision is to help reshape society by providing a place where people can contribute to what matters most: Humanity!” Sattie Persaud - Founder of World Heritage Cultural Center.
Making a Positive Impact Through Knowledge & Charity
World Heritage Cultural Center (WHCC) is working with existing charities for cancer & HIV awareness campaigns, domestic violence and the homeless. WHCC is allocating its resources to following charities below.
Evan & Friends
Evan & Friends: Painting the World Brighter one Charity at a time – is a cause in World Heritage Cultural Center that started a few months ago by Evan. Evan loves Art and I asked him if he can do something special for other kids with his artwork what he would do?
Evans answer: “I would like to sell my artwork to help kids that need food, shelter, parents (he meant orphans) as such. So we gathered a few friends of Evan and started this Cause lead by these young minds!”
Our goal is to create young marvels through projects that will allow E&F members to discover ways to change the world for others. These unique and rewarding experiences to directly help those in less fortunate circumstances cannot be compared to any other. In addition, E&F members will acquire the developmental assets and academic skills needed for individual, social, and academic success.
Membership is free.
Members are welcome to suggest a charity to donate to and E&F will organize a fundraising and “Paint the World Brighter one Charity at a Time!”
Global Citizen Committee and Cultural Exchange Program
The human race has only one home: Earth. Everyone is born into this world as a human, but mother nature and society decide where you are born, and classify you with your nationality, religion, appearance, name, and culture. The diversity and complexity of our world has only increased over time through migration, trade, cultural exchange, borders, and other large-scale historical processes. Our identities and cultures greatly affect our lives, but also are rich, varied, and fluid. We sometimes forget that we are all from the same family of humans and that our differences are not barriers, but rather diversity, a profound gift from the universe.
The WHCC’s Cultural Exchange Program is a way to help discover, rediscover, and learn about each other’s roots and histories. Each year, starting in 2019, 5 students from around the world will receive a chance to visit another country to learn about its heritage and culture first-hand. This program will be led by our Global Citizen Committee, chaired by Alyssa Raghu.
Our first trip is to Greece, 2019.
- Students 18 years and older* are selected through an application process, 6 months prior to travel
- After being selected, students will extensively research the country they will be visiting, through reading books and works of literature, as well as conducting online research
- The final product of this work will be a thesis: a synthesis of research and experiencing the culture in-person.
- The thesis will be concluded by the end of the 6-month period, and presented at Lincoln Center. This presentation will be broadcasted in 160 countries, through US and international media
- The thesis will be used as a guide to share and promote, globally, that specific culture’s heritage and traditions. It will be housed in the WHCC World Library.
*Students 14 and older may be considered if accompanied by a parent, at the parent’s own expense.
About Alyssa Raghu, Chair of the Global Citizen Committee
Alyssa Raghu is a singer/songwriter from Orlando, Florida, of Guyanese/Indian and Mexican heritage who recently took her talents to the stage for American Idol, Season 16. Often compared to Ariana Grande, Adele, and Christina Aguilera, Raghu favors R&B music but is flexible in her repertoire. She has been singing her whole life and knew when she was 11 years old that she wanted to pursue music as a career. When she turned 15, she began training with a vocal coach to focus on her goals. Raghu also plays the guitar and writes her own music. She is currently playing gigs in various locations to gain experience and reach her fan base.
Aside from school and her music interests, Raghu also does philanthropic work, especially for organizations that help women and children prosper. She performs at fundraisers for the Save Abee Foundation, which helps the children of Guyana gain access to books and educational tools. For the World Heritage Cultural Center (WHCC), which promotes cultural awareness through the arts and food, knowledge, and charity, Raghu was appointed as chair of the Global Citizen Committee. She is also the first youth to be selected for the International Cultural Exchange Program by WHCC and foreign embassies.