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Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, says the Government is willing to work with Jamaica’s professional facilitators in addressing some of the challenges that the country faces.

Speaking at the opening of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) Jamaica conference at the Wyndham Kingston hotel in St. Andrew on Thursday, February 28, Mr. Brown said the Government embraces the group’s vision of using professional facilitation “as the preferred and respected participatory practice for transformation”.

“With (this) as the guiding principle, the Government is confident that the IAF Jamaica chapter provides an excellent medium through which the many developmental challenges, which Jamaica faces, will be more easily addressed. Working together in partnership with the Government, the tasks ahead are more likely to be accomplished,” he stated.

The State Minister said the staging of the conference is important, as it will explore ways in which facilitation can be used as an effective tool to initiate, spark and implement change.

“It will also be used to unleash the passion of engaged, motivated people, who feel valued and respected for their contribution, and to provide clear direction and purpose that focuses attention and brings goals to life,” he stated.

“There can be no debate that this has the capability to drive our collective efforts to redeem our economy given the challenges with which it is confronted,” Mr. Brown added.

He noted that facilitation is taking its unique place as a profession in its own right, noting that the designation of Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) is no easy accomplishment.

“The IAF has designed and established a demanding certification process based on rigorous examination procedures,” he noted.

The three-day conference, which ends on March 2, is being held under the theme: ‘The Art and Mastery of Facilitation: Power, Passion, Purpose’.

It seeks to, among other things, discuss the relevance and use of facilitation in diverse groups, communities, cultures and organisations; build skills and competencies in professional facilitation; grow the profession of facilitation and showcase the IAF in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

The IAF was formed by a group of professionals as an avenue for interchange, professional development, trend analysis and peer networking. A formal association was proposed and adopted at a networking conference in Alexandria, Virginia in January, 1994.

IAF Jamaica was established in October 2011 to advocate for the use and understanding of facilitation, and to promote the profession of facilitation as a powerful tool for transformation.