Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has decided to postpone the 9th Biennial Jamaica (virtual) Diaspora Conference, which was slated for June 16-18, 2021.
To replace this year’s conference, the Ministry, in partnership with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Office of the Prime Minister, Legacy Partners, the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (GJDC), the Global Jamaica Diaspora Youth Council (GJDYC) and other local and overseas stakeholders, will stage the Virtual Jamaica Diaspora Sustainability Symposium, June 16-17, under the theme “Jamaica and the Diaspora – Stronger Together for a Sustainable Future”.
Senator the Honourable Leslie Campbell, Minister of State in the Foreign Ministry, said with COVID-19 still a public health threat, it cannot be business as usual.
“Given the protracted nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with its concomitant health and fiscal challenges, it cannot be business as usual. As such, the Symposium is being considered as an effective pivot to maintain the connection with the Diaspora, with a view to strengthening existing partnerships”, he explained.
The Symposium will feature panel discussions on Health and Wellness, Education, and Diaspora Partnerships for Sustainable Development, hosted by the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (GJDC). It will be followed by the highly prestigious Governor-General’s Awards for Excellence, focusing this year on “Heroes of the Pandemic.” The day’s activities will conclude with the Prime Ministerial Town Hall.
A Youth Forum, hosted by the Global Jamaica Diaspora Youth Council (GJDYC), will be the sole activity on Day 2- June 17th.
Minister Campbell also noted that “The Jamaica Diaspora Sustainability Symposium is another vehicle through which the Government of Jamaica (GoJ) can interact with and engage the Jamaican Diaspora on important national issues, as well as on matters of importance to the Diaspora wherever they reside – an essential tenet of the National Diaspora Policy.”
The first Jamaica Diaspora Conference was held in 2004 and has been the principal means by which the GoJ engages with its Diaspora, in both the traditional and non-conventional jurisdictions.
The Ministry says that the 2022 staging of the Conference will be even bigger and better since it will coincide with Jamaica’s Diamond Jubilee (60th Anniversary of Independence), projected to be the country’s first post-COVID Independence celebration.