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The Accompong Maroons will later this month host an international conference, aimed at providing an indepth look into the lives and work of the Maroons and their intangible cultural heritage.

The Accompong 2012 Conference will be held from October 26-27 in Accompong, under the theme: 'The African in Jamaica – Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Maroons for Democracy, Governance & Development'.

Speaking at the launch on October 4, at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, announced the full support of her Ministry for the conference.

"This conference will allow us more space to deliberate and understand more fully the makings of a people.  It will promote a dialogue which will enhance our capacity to know more about ourselves and, in so doing, equip ourselves to confront the challenges that we face in our generation.  We get another opportunity in this conversation to re-discover Cudjoe and Accompong and Johnny and the other nameless fighters who gave sterling service and their lives in the liberation of their people," the Minister said.

Ms. Hanna pointed out that the theme of the conference calls us to engage the centrality of Africa in the development of the Jamaican culture and ethos. 

Meanwhile, Colonel of the Accompong Maroons, Ferron Williams, explained that: "On October 17, 2003, the United Nations adopted a Convention for the safeguarding of intangible culture and later declared 2011 as the year for recognition of people of African descent. These actions, along with Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary celebration and Accompong 274th treaty anniversary, propelled us to host this important conference."

"The conference brings international, national and local thinkers, researchers and historians together in Accompong. The spirit and deeds of (Cudjoe) and our forefathers may be explored under the conference theme," Colonel Williams said.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon Portia Simpson Miller, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the conference, which will feature plenary presentations and panel discussions as well as a cultural exposition and booth exhibitions.

Also speaking will be Professor Verene Shepherd, head of the Institute of Gender and Development Studies, UWI, Mona, who will deliver the main presentation entitled: ‘Lessons to Jamaica and Accompong from the oldest uninterrupted political system of the Americas in the Year of Jamaica 50’.

On  Friday, October 26, there will be the launch of the Quick Step 7-Mile Maroon Trail and the book ‘My Father Said – A Story about the Accompong Maroons 1655-1738’, written by Deputy Colonel of Accompong, Norma Rowe Edwards.

The conference is being organised by the Accompong Maroons, the Maroon Council, in association with the Ministry of Youth and Culture, the Dispute Resolution Foundation, the St. Elizabeth Homecoming Foundation, the St. Elizabeth Co-operative Credit Union Ltd.

Support will provided by the United States Embassy in Kingston, the UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean, the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, UWI, Countrystyle Community Tourism Network and the Spanish Court Hotel.