Just over 200 representatives of the Jamaica diaspora in the United States of America (USA) will converge on the town of Morrow, Georgia, for the inaugural three-day Diaspora Leadership Summit from November 16 to 18.
The event, which has as its theme, ‘Making Our Voices Matter through Leadership’, will focus on the development of the diaspora’s USA-based leadership and strengthening its contribution to Jamaica.
Diaspora Advisory Board Representative for the Southern United States, Wayne Golding, who is one of three conceptualisers of the summit, said that the event represents a change from all previously held diaspora conferences.
“We are looking to build our capacity in the diaspora, increase our ability to control where we are, as in previous years, we wondered what we could do for Jamaica. Now, we will have a broad discussion to become more organised in the USA to allow us to better impact policies affecting us in the USA and, in turn, influence those policies to the point where we can help Jamaica,” he said.
Mr. Golding said the summit will seek to formulate a cohesive Jamaica Diaspora development plan and “stimulate our USA-based network to become a structured entity with focused leadership and a structured plan to enhance our contribution to Jamaica.”
The summit will open on Friday (November 16) with a welcome reception, which will be addressed by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles, Jr.; Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks; and the Mayor of Morrow, Georgia, Jeffrey DeTar.
On Saturday (November 17) morning, Senator Charles Jr. will declare the summit open. Both Ambassador Marks and the State Minister will participate in several seminars throughout the day.
On Sunday (November 18), an inter-faith leadership breakfast and closing ceremonies will take place.
The other organisers of the summit are Diaspora Advisory Board representative from the USA Mid-West, Dr. Rupert Francis; and Akelia Lawrence-Maitland, representing the North-East.