Jamaicans living in the Diaspora now have a greater opportunity to network among themselves, and to know more about Jamaica than ever before, as a result of the establishment of a Diaspora website.
“Not all the delegates have spent as much time understanding Jamaica, reading the newspapers everyday, keeping up-to-date on the news and that is understandable but, in this day of technology, we need to take advantage of e-mail newsletters for example,” Future Leader representative for the United States Diaspora, David Mullings, told JIS News.
“We have created a website, jadiasporafutureleaders.com, and the idea is we want to turn this into some kind of hub. So we collected the information from everyone who came to the [Future Leaders] conference, as well as an area of interest or skill-set,” he explained.
He says going forward, any Jamaican, particularly young persons in the Diaspora, will now be able to search the database and look for other persons in Jamaica, the United States of America, Canada or the United Kingdom with similar interests, or with a particular desirable skill-set.
Through the website, they will be able to connect with these individuals, which will enhance the ability to network and develop the potential to create individual growth. This could have a national impact, depending on the activity generated, he said.
Mr. Mullings pointed out that, as a Future Leader representative, he has encountered three primary categories of Jamaicans.
Those who have grown to be proud of Jamaica, despite being born and raised in the Diaspora, they talk like a Jamaican, understand the culture and are very interested in what is happening in Jamaica.
Secondly, there are those who want nothing to do with Jamaica. Their parents or grand parents, who left the island early, have influenced them that nothing about Jamaica is good, that it is beyond salvation, and they want nothing to with the island.
And thirdly, there are those ‘on the fence’, they don’t know what to think. They hear that Jamaica is not so nice, but meet Jamaicans who speak positively about Jamaica, and they see great things happening internationally and hear others speak good things of Jamaica. It is they who say, in awe, “look at Jamaica; I want to be proud to be Jamaican, let me learn more about Jamaica.”
He said that it is important to harness the first group, that is very patriotic, but the other groups cannot be left out.
He also said that it was important to make sure that people realise that there are positive things about Jamaica, and that the country has contributed immensely on the world stage.
“We need to show them that they should be proud to be Jamaican,” he suggested.
The website will act as the medium, connecting the Diaspora and, through its creation, efforts to create growth and a better understanding of the country can be duplicated in all three major communities of the Diaspora.
It is estimated that over three million Jamaicans reside outside of Jamaica with the major communities, in the United Stares, the United Kingdom and Canada, contributing some J$2 billion to the economy per annum.