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Culture is the way of life of a people. It is the storehouse of our traditions, aspirations, and values. It encompasses our belief systems, world views and forms of recreation and entertainment.
Culture gives expression to a people’s creative diversity and fosters tolerance, generosity of spirit, forgiveness, and respect for others. It is defined in many other ways by many different groups in global society.
However, what I find most potent and useful about what we call culture is that it is for me, one of the most powerful tools of unification within a country and for peoples across the world.
The staging of the 7th International Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference demonstrates this. That the event is being held in Jamaica, is no accident because, as all of you know, culture and creativity are synonymous with ‘ Jamaica ‘. Our culture is well known, and is central to ‘Brand Jamaica ‘.
Without a doubt, culture remains an important part of who we are, what we do, and how we do what we do.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jamaica’s cultural identity and image worldwide are strongly linked to our Reggae Music – an indigenous product of which we are very proud.
Reggae became popular around the world in the 1970’s, and today, could be described as an international language of the oppressed.
The work of artistes like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer on the international stage, took the themes of rebellion, human rights, love, respect for others and freedom into the far corners of the world and helped to pave the way for unity and peace. The lyrics captivated international audiences, unified people in the struggles and served as the basis for negotiating significant truces.
Reggae is so important to us Jamaicans, that we have devoted the entire month of February to celebrate it. The celebrations took place for the first time this year.
Part of those celebrations was the successful staging of the Reggae Film Festival and from that Festival the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports is now leading a special initiative to encourage and assist Jamaicans to make our own films about our culture.
Just this week, on July 01 we celebrated International Reggae Day, which demonstrates the significant impact that the music from this small country continues to be appreciated by people all over the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports is also now making preparations to establish a Reggae Museum. This museum will be the storehouse of our artifacts and will represent the struggles and achievements of Jamaican music.
In light of our own achievements in the culture industry, I am pleased that Jamaica was selected as the venue for the seventh International Crossroads in Cultural Studies. There in much transformation taking place in global society, much of which is being propelled by information and communication technologies. Conferences like these can help to ensure that the individual cultures of countries are preserved and provide content for ongoing research in cultural studies.
So, I want to thank you for choosing Jamaica, as the most suitable location to host this conference of the Association for Cultural Studies dubbed “Of Sacred Crossroads”….
On behalf of the Prime Minister I welcome you the participants from over sixty (60) cultures to Jamaica . It is my hope that your deliberations and cultural sessions focusing on revival, drumming, dancehall and Reggae, will be successful and help to bridge the gap between traditional scholars and the wider public.
I extend my best wishes for a successful Conference.
Culture is the way of life of a people. It is the storehouse of our traditions, aspirations, and values. It encompasses our belief systems, world views and forms of recreation and entertainment.
The Jamaican culture constitutes a viable economic sector as we have competitive advantage in music through reggae. Jamaica is also home to the two fastest men on earth..
I have no doubt therefore that the Association’s staging of this the 7th International Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference here in Jamaica is no accident as creativity is synonymous with Jamaica. It is an important part of what we do. It is defined in our music, performing arts, food and dance forms. Our culture in music and sports is well known, it is at the centre of Brand Jamaica.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jamaica’s cultural identity and image worldwide are linked to our creation of Reggae Music, a product which we are very proud of.
Reggae music is the centerpiece of Brand Jamaica.
Reggae became popular around the world in the 1970’s due to the international success of artists such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Marley’s lyrics about love, redemption and natural beauty has captivated international audiences and gained headlines for negotiating truces between our political leaders. Ladies and gentlemen, today, Reggae can easily be described as an international language.
Our Reggae Brand is so important, that we have devoted the entire month of February to celebrate it. Part of that celebration was the successful staging of the first ever Reggae Film Festival which featured films that have reggae music as the subject, storyline or content. From that Festival the Ministry of Culture is now leading a special initiative to encourage and assist Jamaicans to make our own films about our own culture.
Additionally just this week we celebrated International Reggae Day which demonstrates how music from this small country has a greatly impacted the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Ministry of Information, Culture Youth and Sports is also now in the process of creating a Reggae Museum. This museum will be the storehouse of our artifacts and will represent the struggles and achievements of Jamaican music.
So, I want to thank you for choosing Jamaica, it is the most fitting place to host this conference of the Association for Cultural Studies dubbed “Of Sacred Crossroads”….
On behalf of the Prime Minister, I welcome you the delegates from over 60 countries, all with an interest in culture to Jamaica. I trust that your days of discussions and nights of revival, drumming, dancehall and reggae will be successful and will help to bridge the gap between traditional scholars and the wider public through culture.