Professor Neville Ying, Executive Director of the Jamaica Diaspora Institute will outline initiatives being pursued to develop the relationship between Jamaica and its Diaspora when he addresses the biennial Jamaican Diaspora Convention on June 15 to 17.
The presentation will highlight some of the contributions members of the Diaspora have been making to Jamaica, he said in an interview. These contributions have been in the areas of remittances; education, especially the support of alumni groups to education institutions; support for healthcare, particularly free healthcare services for rural communities; and financial investments and tourism.
Meanwhile, Professor Ying said he will also outline achievements made since the last meeting in 2008, such as the development of the Diaspora web portal, http://jamaicadiasporaconnect.com.
“This is to indicate that we are embracing best practices of developed Diasporas, such as India, which uses Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Business Portals as an integral part of its Diaspora engagement Strategies,” he explained.
“This portal was developed through an EC-UN funded project, Knowledge Networks for connecting Jamaica and its Diaspora,” he added.
The main partners in this project were the Mona School of Business in Jamaica, through the Jamaica Diaspora Institute , and the Centre of Excellence for Technology Innovation and in the United Kingdom KAJANS Women’s enterprises in collaboration with the Jamaica Diaspora UK. Professor Ying said the development of the portal addresses important recommendations from previous Diaspora conferences, which had lobbied for the development of databases of members, and an online communication tool for engaging the Diaspora and a Diaspora skills bank.
He will also highlight the importance of the Inaugural Diaspora Future Leaders Conference held and the University of the West Indies, Mona in 2009. This conference is an important part of the engagement of the second and third generations in the Jamaican Diaspora. The development of future leaders is critical for succession planning in the Diaspora.
Professor Ying is one of several high profile speakers confirmed for the upcoming Convention, which will take place in Ocho Rios, St. Ann. Other speakers scheduled for the Convention include : Dr. Kenneth Baugh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Karl Samuda, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce and Olivia Grange, Minister of Youth Sports and Culture.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw will address the Convention in the plenary session on the first day under the theme: “Energizing the Diaspora.” Mr. Shaw’s presentation will focus on giving members of the Diaspora an overview of the Government’s economic performance current and future and the important role the Diaspora has played and strategies for future contributions from the Diaspora.
This will be followed by speakers from the major diaspora locations USA, Canada and the UK who will highlight achievements and partnership initiatives between Jamaica and its Diaspora.Earl Jarrett, chairman of the Jamaican Diaspora Foundation, will address the Convention from the private sector’s perspective, under the theme: “One nation: Jamaica and its Diaspora: Challenges and Opportunities.”
Mr. Jarrett will discuss the role of private/public partnership in maximizing the value of the Diaspora through remittances ,support for schools, hospitals, hometown associations and charities.