JIS News

Story Highlights

  • State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, has reported that a record 3,000 participants attended the 2015 Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, which concludes on Thursday (June 18).
  • This is the highest level of attendance, since the inaugural staging of the conference in 2004.
  • Mr. Brown also highlighted the donation of a mobile blood unit, valued at £100,000, to the Ministry of Health, by Diaspora members in the United Kingdom. The group is in the process of procuring another unit.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, has reported that a record 3,000 participants attended the 2015 Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, which concludes on Thursday (June 18).

This is the highest level of attendance, since the inaugural staging of the conference in 2004.

Speaking at a Jamaica House media briefing at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Wednesday (June 17), Mr. Brown also highlighted several key outcomes from this year’s conference.

Notable among these, he said, was the forging of a partnership involving the Ministry of Education, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and members of the Diaspora, to stage a numeracy summer camp this year, targeting approximately 500 youth in Portland, St. Thomas, and St. James.

“The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Diaspora, will be hosting the camp…in July…an initiative, which is supported by the USAID, to the tune of US$2,500 ($291,075),” the State Minister informed.

Mr. Brown, who has responsibility for Diaspora Affairs in the Ministry, also extended gratitude to Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Her Excellency Aloun Assamba, for awarding scholarships, valued at $1.2 million to three educational institutions in Jamaica.

These are Ferncourt High School in St. Ann; Merle Grove High in St. Andrew; and Convent of Mercy (Alpha) in Kingston.

The State Minister also pointed out that, through the Diaspora Education Task Force, a number of local teachers have already received scholarships to further their education, while similar plans are in place for some 100 of their colleagues to benefit in 2016.

The Education Task Force, which was set up in the post-2013 conference period, has facilitated the training of five teachers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“These teachers got full scholarships, to attend the Loma Linda University (in the United States) and there will be five additional teachers, who will be going off to Loma Linda this summer. Next year, the faculty of the institution will come to Jamaica where they will train 100 teachers in this particular area of emphasis,” he informed.

Mr. Brown also highlighted the donation of a mobile blood unit, valued at £100,000, to the Ministry of Health, by Diaspora members in the United Kingdom. The group is in the process of procuring another unit.

Mr. Brown said, overall, the sessions were well received by all of the conference participants.