The 3rd International Reggae Conference, which seeks to increase knowledge about Jamaican music, culture, and associated music forms, officially got underway on Thursday, February 14, on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
The conference, which is being held under the theme: ‘Traditional and Emerging Themes in Popular Music’, is organised by the UWI’s Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies Unit, in association with the Office of the Principal.
Speaking at the official launch, Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, said that the conference must provide a look into “the rear view mirror of time and put us on a forward path to prosperity for all”.
“Today, as we (face) economic and other social challenges, reggae music can help us to reach into our past and extract from it the values, attitudes and systems that propelled us forward in the past, and are able to do so again in today’s Jamaica,” she said.
She saluted all the Reggae ambassadors for their work and worth in the creation and promotion of this world-class product.
Ms. Hanna also congratulated the organisers for their vision and insight as they seek to stimulate and advance “the ongoing intellectual assessment and reflection that must help to propel the nation’s culture to its rightful place as a potent force of social and economic liberation”.
Dean, UWI’s Faculty of Humanities and Education, Dr. Swithin Wilmot, said the conference provides an opportunity “for us to sit, and intelligently ask ourselves, where we are, where the music is and where can it take us and where can we take it.”
Over its three-day staging, the conference will feature a fully packed schedule, featuring academic panels, special presentations, roundtables, exhibits, and a variety of cultural activities.
It will highlight the international spread of reggae music and culture, through Europe’s acclaimed Rototom Sunsplash Festival, which is celebrating 20 years of showcasing reggae lifestyle and culture.
The main conference proceedings and select presentations will be streamed live on the Internet via UWI-TV at http://tv.mona.uwi.edu/.