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Jamaica looks to the future

MAJOR CONFERENCE: Leon Mitchell, Assistant General Manager of the Jamaica National Group, receives a gift from Kamina Johnson-Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade at the launch of the Diaspora Conference

SUSTAINABILITY WILL be at the core of Jamaica’s future, according to the theme of this year’s Diaspora Conference.

Professor Neville Ying, chair of the conference programme and content sub-committee, and Pro Chancellor of The Mico University College, revealed the official theme at a launch event for the conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston recently.

Under the theme “Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development”, the event will take place at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, from June 16 to 20.

“The theme of the conference is an invitation to Jamaica and its diaspora to work together for the world of the future. The focus of this partnership is to help Jamaica to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 2030, which are embedded in the four core goals of our Vision 2030,” stated Professor Ying.

“Conference 2019 will focus on three clusters of these goals: People, Partnerships and Prosperity. The purpose of the conference is to re-ignite and re-energise our diaspora partnership, to support our country’s quest for sustainable economic and social development,” he added.

He added that this theme is in keeping with Jamaica Vision 2030 goals.

Professor Ying went on to explain that the theme and the focus on ‘People, Partnerships and Prosperity’ focus was selected in keeping with the conference’s objective to examine global trends and events, especially in diaspora host countries, while paying attention to inherent issues, challenges and opportunities, as well as the partnerships which the diaspora were keen to establish.

“A main part of our objective is to develop specific actionable outcomes at the conference that Jamaica and the diaspora will commit to implementing,” he said.

The conference will examine new and emerging technologies, the global call to action for human development, the shift in the economic powerbase of major world economies, and geopolitical events which affected members of the diaspora.

Professor Ying said: “Globally, there are new and emerging technologies which have disrupted the lives of every country. Artificial intelligence, big data, and other technologies will have significant impact on jobs in the workplace.

“Many of our current jobs will be obsolete; and, there will be new and higher-paying jobs. The message, therefore, is that Jamaica and its diaspora must begin to work urgently in areas of human resources, to develop skills which are going to be needed for this new economy he maintained.”

In her remarks, Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, said that the theme of the conference reflected the Jamaican government’s commitment to pursue enabling initiatives and mechanisms to encourage, support, create and empower Jamaicans to achieve and sustain their full potential.

“This conference will call for holistic thinking, strategy and policy coherence, as we purposefully approach sustainable development; and, we fundamentally define it, not only in the context of agenda 2030, but with a particular focus on a completely secure and just society,” she stated.

The 2017 conference chair, Hon. Earl Jarrett, endorsed the conference, through his representative Leon Mitchell, Assistant General Manager of the Jamaica National Group, who welcomed Senator Don Wehby, chief executive of GraceKennedy LTD. Mr Wehby will take on chairman duties this year.

Mr Mitchell noted that the Legacy Partners have worked with successive Jamaican governments and embraced the aims and objectives of the diaspora movement: “They have all worked hard to enhance the movement’s structure and strengthened the links with our country, as well as the initiatives of our people in the diaspora.”

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