JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Four young persons in the diaspora will be immersed in the Jamaican culture, through the 2019 GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Programme.
  • The students, who are from the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom, will participate in a five-week internship from June 28 to August 7 with GraceKennedy Limited.
  • The launch of the 2019 programme was held on Wednesday (July 3) at GraceKennedy Limited’s new corporate headquarters, Harbour Street in downtown Kingston.

Four young persons in the diaspora will be immersed in the Jamaican culture, through the 2019 GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Programme.

The students, who are from the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom, will participate in a five-week internship from June 28 to August 7 with GraceKennedy Limited.

The launch of the 2019 programme was held on Wednesday (July 3) at GraceKennedy Limited’s new corporate headquarters, Harbour Street in downtown Kingston.

It is a cultural and professional internship, geared at highlighting the Jamaican culture while furthering the career goals of the candidates.

The programme targets second- and third-generation Jamaicans living in the diaspora who are currently attending university.

Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), GraceKennedy Limited, Senator Don Wehby, who brought greetings at the event, said many members of the \diaspora remain strongly connected to the land of their birth, and the programme seeks to strengthen this connection with second and third generations.

Noting that several persons who have risen to prominent positions overseas have Jamaican parentage, Senator Wehby encouraged the young persons to continue to excel in their academic and career pursuits.

“Never be afraid to dream and never say ‘never’. All of you, I am sure, will be very successful Jamaicans in your respective countries. We are a company that believes in Jamaica and believes in giving back to Jamaica. This Birthright programme is a win-win for GraceKennedy, for you and for our country, Jamaica,” he said.

In a message from Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, read by Director of Tourism, Donovan White, the participants were encouraged to use every opportunity to immerse themselves in the Jamaican culture.

“It is our hope that you will not only want to return but you will become ambassadors of the land that nurtured your cultural roots. We are in the age of Millennials, and our tourism sector has evolved to meet your needs. We are cognisant of the importance of safeguarding the sustainability of the industry, and so I look forward to you all playing a key role, in partnership with us through the diaspora, in making this happen,” he said.

Kayla Jessup, who is from the United States of America (USA), said she was attracted to the professional and cultural growth that the programme promises. Ms. Jessup, who is studying Political Science and Spanish at the University of Chicago, USA, describes the programme as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.

“From this experience, I hope to gain a better understanding of myself and what I’d like to do in the future. I believe I will get closer to this goal by working in the field of my interest, connecting more with my culture through the Heritage Pathways and meeting brilliant people along the way, such as the other interns and staff at GraceKennedy,” she said.

Tarik Graham, who recently completed his first year at Harvard University, where he is pursuing Social Studies and African American Studies, said he was inspired to apply for the programme by his brother, who participated in the internship programme in 2017. Both his parents are Jamaicans.

“I know that the internship will be a great opportunity for me to connect with my cultural heritage and become more knowledgeable about Jamaica and its history. Also, I am looking forward to gaining the practical experience that the programme will offer. Being in the workplace and learning about GraceKennedy will be an invaluable experience for me as I move forward in life and in my career. I am grateful and happy that I am being afforded this opportunity,” he said.

The other interns are Sapphira Thompson-Bled from Canada, who recently graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor in International Studies and Modern Languages; and Callum McCarthy from the United Kingdom (UK), who graduated from the University of Cambridge where he studied Manufacturing Engineering.