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Diaspora Conference Attracted Increased Number of Overseas Attendees

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, addresses a plenary session during the 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Wednesday (June 19). (FILE)

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, says the recently staged 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference saw an increase in the number of overseas participants, moving from 239 in 2017 to 280 this year.

“Not only was there an increase in numbers, but, in addition to attendees from the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and Canada – our traditional Diaspora locations, we also had attendees from Ghana, Mexico, Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas,” she said.

The Foreign Affairs Minister was addressing a press conference held at her New Kingston offices on Tuesday (June 25).

She noted that the conference, which “galvanised a wide cross section of Jamaicans and friends from all over the globe, “remains one of the principal fora for engagement and inclusion of the overseas nationals in the country’s development.

Among the outcomes were endorsement of the draft National Diaspora Policy and a new Global Jamaica Diaspora Council, which is an expansion on the Diaspora Advisory Board, allowing for wider representation and engagement across Diaspora locations.

Mrs. Johnson Smith said that the Jamaica Diaspora Youth Council was also sanctioned. The body will provide a mechanism to link with the Global Council and increase connection between young people in the Diaspora and Jamaica.

The Diaspora members further committed continued support in the area of health, and looked at the use of technology in education as a driver for workforce development.

The conference also examined investment opportunities in the stock market, climate smart agriculture and medical cannabis, among others.

The conference, which ran from June 16 to 20, was hosted by the Ministry under the theme: ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development’.

This year’s staging focused on expanding and building pathways for the Diaspora and Jamaica to work together to prepare effectively for the future within the context of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which incorporate the core targets under the Vision 2030 National Development Plan.

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