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Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, His Excellency Yuri Gala Lopez, has praised the Kiwanis movement in Jamaica for its role in the social and economic development of the country, and in particular, its contribution to the advancement of early childhood education.

“Through (a) voluntary approach, the Kiwanis (movement in Jamaica) has contributed to the expansion or improvement of the infrastructure and increasing the stock of basic schools,” Mr. Lopez said.

He made the statement while addressing a luncheon hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Kingston for Heads of Missions, at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel on Tuesday, February 5.

He pointed out that since the inception of the Kiwanis movement in Jamaica and with the establishment of the Kiwanis Club of Kingston in 1964, the body has grown stronger in support of different communities around the country.

“The Kiwanis movement has become one of the leading institutions in Jamaica providing a variety of social services on a voluntary basis, thus making a meaningful contribution to Jamaica’s social and economic development,” he said.

Mr. Lopez, who is also Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica, said the Kiwanis movement is also helping to further cement diplomatic ties with various countries.

“By hosting activities such as this luncheon, the Kiwanis (movement) in Jamaica has recognised the role of the Diplomatic Corps in the strengthening of the friendly and co-operative ties between Jamaica and the respective countries represented here today,” he noted.

“We encourage the Kiwanians to continue making an important contribution to the advancement of the children of Jamaica that could also be seen as part of those efforts aimed at globalising solidarity to help build a better world for all,” the Ambassador said.

In his remarks, State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, said service clubs such as the Kiwanis clubs, are important “in terms of the democratic architecture of Jamaica, because they underpin the democratic process”.

He noted that the clubs also ensure that “politicians, such as myself, are kept on our toes and certainly, they advance the social agenda, which is very important, as well as the economic agenda of the country.”

Several resident and non-resident Heads of Missions accredited to Jamaica, participated in the luncheon, which included a total of 37 Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Chargé D’affaires.

The event was held as part of activities to mark the 15th annual Diplomatic Week, which is being observed from February 3 to 8.