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Jamaicans in the Diaspora have been encouraged to speak as one voice, and collaborate on issues, ideas and concerns for the benefit of their respective communities in which they reside, as well as for the development of their homeland.
The charge was given by Professor Neville Ying, of the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation, University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI), in his address to Jamaican nationals at a community forum, held on March 28, at the Holy Family Episcopal Church, in Miami in the United States of America (USA).
Professor Ying pointed to the significance of the synergies, which he said, would help to find the cohesiveness that maintains creativity and innovation between those at home and those in the Diaspora. “Our survival and progress in the face of challenges will be determined by the power of creative ideas and action,” he emphasised.
Outlining Government’s effort and commitment for a more structured and engaging relationship with the Diaspora, he cited the Symposium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the three National Diaspora Conferences, held bi-annually since 2004, in Kingston, which included the appointment of Diaspora Board Representatives; the establishment of the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation (JADF) and Jamaica Diaspora Institute (JDI), and the Joint Select Committee of Parliament on Diaspora matters.
Dr. Ying also spoke of ongoing activities of the JDI, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and other stakeholders, in the implementation of several projects. These include the development work for the Diaspora Bond, the Education Trust Fund, the development of a Diaspora database and skills data bank, the establishment of a House Select Committee for Diaspora Affairs and a Help Desk for Returning Residents.
Dr. Ying informed that the role of the Diaspora Institute is to facilitate the strengthening of the relationship between Jamaica and its Diaspora, adding that this would be done through similar forums for the exchange of ideas, action and sustaining social and professional networks and connecting them with Jamaica’s development.
Elaborating on other functions of the JDI, Dr. Ying said that the institution would facilitate research and serve as a central repository and clearing house for data related to the Diaspora, organise and host conferences on relevant topics, as well as work with tertiary institutions in Jamaica for collaborative research and projects.
Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths, in her welcoming remarks, urged nationals in the Diaspora to become involved in the process, “to see how we can individually and collectively make a difference in our local communities and also for Jamaica’s economic development.”
She commended the nationals at the forum for their interest and participation, and expressed a desire for ongoing dialogue and similar engagements.
Jamaica’s Advisory Board representative to the Southern USA, Marlon Hill, gave an overview of the Diaspora in that region, which includes the 13 Southern States of the United States.
The forum, themed: ‘Connecting the Dots’, was organised by the Jamaican Diaspora Southern USA, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Jamaica.

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