JIS News

The 32nd Annual Convention of the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organisations (NAJASO), will be held from July 16 to 19, at the Hilton Atlanta Hotel, downtown Atlanta USA.
Just over 100 delegates and participants are expected to attend the convention, which will be held under the theme: ‘Facing the Challenges, Uncovering the Opportunities’.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Anthony Johnson, will declare the convention officially open on July 16 at 7:00 p.m., while Atlanta’s Mayor, Shirley Franklin and Jamaica’s Honorary Consul, Vin Martin, will welcome the delegates.
On July 17, delegates and participants will take part in a number of workshops on Education and Health. One workshop will focus on, ‘Education, giving back to Jamaica’. The featured speaker for that workshop will be Dennis Yvet of the Ministry of Education. Dr. Isaac Bartley will be the main presenter at the panel discussion on health. Opposition Leader, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, is expected to deliver the keynote address at a special luncheon at 12:30 p.m.
Later that afternoon, a panel discussion on ‘Crime in Jamaica’, will have as its featured presenter, Public Defender, Earl Witter. To wrap up the day, a business and investment seminar dealing with business opportunities in Jamaica will be held. The panel will include Mark Thomas, representing Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI), and Regional Sales Manager of the Jamaica Tourist Board, Frank Bronstorph.
On Saturday, July 18, the 32nd annual general meeting and the election of a new Board will take place. Later in the evening, Ambassador to the United States, Anthony Johnson, will represent Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding at the awards banquet and will deliver the keynote address.
“This year’s convention is important, as it will give us the opportunity to review our performance and to look at finding new ways to improve our organisation as well as to assist our beloved country,” NAJASO’s Northeast Regional Vice President, Jennifer Asher, told JIS News.
She emphasised that the organisation’s leadership is committed to encouraging Jamaicans residing in the US, as well as American corporate interests, to renew their focus on Jamaica.
“It is important that new opportunities for investment be communicated to the Jamaican public at large and to those in the American business sector, who have an interest in developing economic partnerships with local players in the Jamaican marketplace,” she said.
Miss Asher informed that in addition to facilitating trade and investment, a primary focus of NAJASO would also be in the educational arena. “This has always been one of our primary areas of emphasis. Since 1988, NAJASO has funded at least 20 scholarships in higher education at the University of the West Indies (UWI). This contribution has been broad and has never sought to focus on a specific educational sector. The rationale is to make funding available regardless of the academic discipline,” she said.
The scholarships, which average US$2,000, is made available each year to two students who have distinguished themselves academically, but who also present a credible case for financial support.
As a non-profit organisation, NAJASO which was founded in 1977, is the umbrella entity in the US, which seeks to bring together a range of Jamaican associations, social organisations, and charitable groups to fashion a common annual agenda focussing on key areas, such as the Jamaican economy, health care and education. The Atlanta Jamaica Association is the host organisation for this year’s convention.

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