JIS News

Jamaica’s Consul General in Miami, Sandra Grant Griffiths, has commended the newly formed Coalition of Jamaican Alumni Associations in South Florida, as signal of acceptance of the need to become more engaged in a collective process for educational development at home and in the Diaspora.
The Consul General was speaking to members of several alumni groups, representing nearly 50 Jamaican secondary schools, at the first general meeting of the alumni coalition, on Saturday (September 18) at the Florida Atlantic University campus in Davie.
She charged that the representatives’ collective responsibility was an indication of the development of a grand alumni undertaking.
The first phase of the Coalition of Florida-based alumni groups was the launch of its website (www.jaasf.info) in March. They have now joined the ranks of fraternities in the Diaspora, including the Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (UJAA) in New York and the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (AJAA) in Toronto.
The Coalition was the brainchild of Dr. Rupert Rhodd, Associate Professor of Economics, Florida Atlantic University, and Dr. Sandra Schrouder, Professor, Public Administration at Barry University, both members of the Florida chapter of the Wolmer’s Alumni Association.
They were also lauded for their innovation and for facilitating the newly-constructed website, as well as the publication of the monthly newsletter of the Jamaica alumni associations for the past five years.
While lauding the connection of individual groups to their alma mater, the Consul General said that the collaborative approach would effectively garner a range of combined support.
“An incremental broadening of scope and a collective approach, where possible, exploring best practices, which could help to drive the growth of the alumni movement,” she stated.
She also invited proposals for joint projects, noting that the combined effect would be more far reaching.
In addition to the fundraisers, she suggested building synergies to encourage cooperative assistance, as well as a variety of events, such as discussions and seminars, convened to discuss matters of mutual concern in education reform.
She said that these could create a forum for cross-fertilization of ideas and programmes that could be helpful in fostering the alliances, and a collective lobby of purpose.
The development of the website, she said, also facilitated a readily available channel for exchange, promotion, collaboration and consolidation of projects among all the alumni groups, as well as providing information to the general community.
The Consul General also shared information on Jamaica’s National Development Plan – Vision 2030 – which incorporates education as one of the key areas pivotal to its advancement. She also spoke of the National Education Trust (NET), the government’s executing agency responsible for enabling and maintaining investments in education.
The alumni coalition launched plans for its inaugural walkathon of Jamaican alumni associations, planned for Saturday (December 4) at the Vincent Torres Park in Fort Lauderdale.
According to Dr. Rhodd, proceeds from the proposed annual event will benefit the alma maters, as participating alumni bodies will individually raise funds from pledges throughout the day of the race.
He said that collective support from alumni members, as well as Jamaicans at large, would help to provide information on broad based collaborative community initiatives.
“When we support each other, we are more effective and successful which, in turn, immensely benefits Jamaica as well as the Diaspora,” he said.
Jamaican Diaspora Board Representative for the Southern United States, Marlon Hill, enlightened the audience on the path of Jamaica’s education development, through support and commitment from family and community, historically.
He encouraged the audience to continue these efforts as “every family has a success story based on this kind of support.” There was an introduction of alumni representatives at the meeting.