Engaging the Jamaican Diaspora – A Diaspora Youth Summit

Earlier today I had a brief exchange with a few people about “Brand Jamaica” and how resident Jamaicans should/could/do interact with the Jamaican Diaspora.  At various points in the exchange, and certainly at the beginning, I was annoyed at how I thought the Jamaican Diaspora was being referenced.  I am not a “mere” Ambassador; my initial tweets, others are still available on my Twitter timeline:  

And, I do not like this incessant focus on “Brand Jamaica” — what does this even mean and are Jamaicans in Jamaica and outside of it even being considered with this push?  Far too externally oriented for my liking.  Which, sadly, isn’t new.

But I’ll follow up on these issues and my musings in next week’s posts.  Now, this week, I’d like to focus your attention on other ways that the Jamaican Diaspora is being actively engaged: the Diaspora Youth Summit that’s happening in Jamaica on Friday,  March 15.

See anyone you know in that video? *cues Solid As a Rock*

After this morning’s exchange I was ever so grateful to have this post to look forward to.  On Monday I was very pleased to receive Doudou Kalala’s email about this event and I’m happy to share the information about the Summit here.  (I interviewed Kalala last month about his work with August Town and other youths, that lovely suspended wall garden.)  The Diaspora Youth Summit is directly related to the Community Mapping also discussed in that post.  The Mapping will help youth and their communities to understand what the community’s assets are — physical and otherwise — which will help youth to better plan their businesses.  The Summit is a full-day event meant to engage youth from the 8 communities (including August Town, Trench Town, Tivoli, Mountain View, and Flankers) that Kalala and the Summit’s partners are working with in Jamaica.  The Summit will focus on entrepreneurship.  Dr. Erin MacLeod (yep, @touchofallright) will present the findings of a report about youth entrepreneurship and then participants will split into groups for breakout sessions.  Each session will be led and facilitated youth leaders from these 8 communities and members of the Diaspora will join via Google+ Hangout (looks like I may have to reactivate my account after all).  The closing session is a webinar titled “Young Entrepreneurship and Social Media.”  Participating organizations are Cuso International, the Jamaica Diaspora Institute, Mona Social Services UWI Township, the PIOJ, and the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

Diaspora Youth Connect 2013 copy 2The Summit is part of the Diaspora Youth Connect program that will pair young people with mentors from the Diaspora.  Mentors will guide youth in finalizing and implementing business plans.  I love this way of engaging the Jamaican Diaspora.  We are not merely ATMs, folks who fly een for some beach, bumming, and fried fish, or a group to be looked upon with suspicion or resentment.  But next week for that…now, in this moment, I’m simply happy about this Summit and wish the youth participants the very best for Friday.

So, if you’re in the Diaspora look out on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for information on how the Summit is going.  Friday, March 15 from 8:45 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Alister McIntyre Executive Lecture Theatre of the Mona School of Business on the UWI (Mona) campus.  I’ll also try to tweet or RT things about the Summit on my own Twitter timeline (in between tasks for this thing called my 9 to 5 :))

And now one of my favourite tunes from one of August Town’s finest…

3 Responses to “Engaging the Jamaican Diaspora – A Diaspora Youth Summit”
  1. Emma Lewis says:

    I totally agree with you on the “Brand Jamaica” thing. It’s a fabrication of politicians and bears no relation to Jamaicans here or overseas, I agree. But I feel as if I have heard all this before, years ago. UWI has been doing this youth entrepreneurship program for years, haven’t they? Having said that, I hope the youth participants find the day (just one day?) a positive experience and that it gives them some ideas. But these communities have virtually no cash flow. Where are their customers going to come from? Sorry if I sound a bit cynical, but communities like Trench Town need big cash infusions, real job opportunities, factories opening up etc. I mean, houses are literally falling down on their occupants in TT! P.S. I don’t think Sizzla’s contribution to August Town has been very positive in the past (I’m talking 10-15 years ago) but I hope that’s changed. I think he has some kind of foundation now. (Subterrranean Homesick Blues is the name of a Bob Dylan song from the 1960s?)

  2. Reblogged this on Jamaican Journal and commented:
    I am reposting this great blog about an event going on today. It is intended to engage youth and address the Jamaican diaspora. Post and pics to come. Have a great Friday!

  3. Tresana Pearson says:

    brand Jamaica is excellent however i think as the further leaders of this country it is our responsibility to improve on such a brad. to prove to the world and ourselves that our power-ness isnt just in sports and entertainment but it is there in academia also. which brings me to the point to say that developing a country by using the youths and the persons in the diaspora is a good idea because offers for some persons who havent got access to certain thing to be able to show those talents and skills. to all the persons who are involved, excellent job and thanks for the good work from all of us.

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