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  • The Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston will come alive on Thursday, November 20, with the staging of a National Conference on Girls’ Education.
  • The event, the first of its kind to be held in Jamaica, is being staged under the theme: ‘Girls’ Education: Pivotal to Nation Building.’ It will be declared open by the Minister of Education, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites.
  • Organised by the St. Hugh’s High School, the conference seeks to provide a forum to influence policies focusing on girls as important participants in national development.

The Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston will come alive on Thursday, November 20, with the staging of a National Conference on Girls’ Education.

The event, the first of its kind to be held in Jamaica, is being staged under the theme: ‘Girls’ Education: Pivotal to Nation Building.’ It will be declared open by the Minister of Education, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites.

Organised by the St. Hugh’s High School, the conference seeks to provide a forum to influence policies focusing on girls as important participants in national development. “We see this conference as a groundbreaking event, one which we are honoured to host, and we hope it will result in thoughtful action on issues, which affect girls in our country,” Principal of the School, Deaconess Elaine Cunningham, told JIS News in an interview.

“Although many are doing well academically, girls face several emotional and societal stressors, which threaten their progress,” she noted.

She pointed out that the conference will provide an opportunity for the school and its main stakeholders to engage in conversation on the needs of young women; issues that both parents and teachers need to be acquainted with; how adolescent girls are affected by their psychosocial environment and the impact on learning and interest in school; and how to mitigate or accommodate these factors. The conference is endorsed by the Ministry of Education and the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Mona Unit; the Bureau of Gender Affairs; and United Nations Women.

Guest speaker is Dr. Claire Nelson, who is the first woman in Jamaica to receive a PhD in engineering. She is currently the Ideation Leader of The Futures Forum, a thought leadership practice, which promotes and conducts strategic foresight and integral development consulting, with a particular interest in global challenges.

The conference will also feature presentations and discussions by several notable and dynamic female professionals, who have distinguished themselves in various spheres of service in Jamaica. They include: Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn; Group Executive Director of Culture and Human Development at Jamaica Money Market Brokers’ Limited, Donna Duncan Scott; Media Consultant, Author and Entrepreneur, Dr. Marcia Forbes; Attorney-at-Law, Opposition Senator, Kamina Johnson-Smith; Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Samantha Longman Mills; and Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Professor Carolyn Cooper.

The male perspective will also be included in the day’s activities as Family Psychologist and Chief Executive Officer of Family Life Ministries, Dr. Barry Davidson; and Social Anthropologist and Chairman of Fathers Inc., Dr. Herbert Gayle will be on hand to make presentations.

The conference will be divided into two sessions, the first segment is entitled: ‘Growing up Me: My Best Self Now and to Come’ where the main focus will be on students and the second session: ‘Growing up Girl: Raising Resilient Girls – Contemporary and Emerging Issue’ will target parents and will be open to the public. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. The conference forms part of St. Hugh’s High School activities to commemorate its 115th anniversary.

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