Diaspora Conference to be held in Guyana

Last Updated on Friday, 10 February 2017, 9:41 by Denis Chabrol

The University of Guyana (UG) has announced that it will be hosting its inaugural Diaspora Engagement Conference from July 23 to 28 2017, in Georgetown, Guyana, under the theme: “Dreaming Diaspora Engagement, Doing Diaspora Engagement.”

The Conference is expected to attract several hundred participants.

“Hosted by the University of Guyana with support from a team of leaders in the diaspora and other stakeholders, the Conference is organised around two overarching pillars: human, social and entrepreneurship development and diaspora philanthropy and diplomacy,” UG said in a statement.

The Turkeyen-headquartered tertiary institution said  the conference would provide the platform for developing a diaspora engagement strategy that would inform the work of the first Caribbean Diaspora Engagement Center. The launch of the Center is expected to be a major highlight of the six-day Conference.

According to UG’s Tenth Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, “the Conference will contribute to the development of diaspora policy and a framework to effectively attract direct diaspora investment and engage the diaspora in nation building.”

The conference has three components namely; an academic symposium, a business forum, and community engagement. The symposium will receive academic presentations on key issues such as international and regional migration policies, cultural identities and the Diasporas, financial transfers and remittances, social remittances, tourism, diaspora trade and investments, among other areas.

UG said the the community engagement dimension will focus on building relationships with key stakeholders such as diaspora community leaders, governments, and hometown associations. In this context, delegates have an opportunity to participate in a Give Back Market Place where there would be various opportunities to volunteer time and resources to community development projects.The Business Forum will consider the processes for facilitating investment, trade and enterprise development.  Members of the government and the private sector will present opportunities and policy initiatives to potential investors.

Many countries have recognized the potential of their Diasporas and have used structured mechanisms such as diaspora conferences to harness the potential of their Diasporas and engage them effectively. Members of the huge Caribbean diaspora in New York, Canada, U.K. are expected to attend and provide input, match skills and create trans-national networks to build a robust diaspora engagement and productive partnerships.

There are more than two million first and second generation Caribbean descent persons living overseas who have acquired expertise and experience which can be used to foster sustained economic development in the Caribbean.

With a current enrollment of some 8,000 students, The University of Guyana (UG) has graduated more than 20,000 students who have gone on to successful careers locally, regionally and internationally. The University is also a major contributor to the national economy and to business and industry. Established in 1963 on a part-time basis with shared space at Queens College, UG moved to its own campus at Turkeyen in 1970 and expanded in 2000 with the addition of the Tain Campus. It now offers more than 60 Under-graduate and Post-graduate Programmes including  Engineering, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Urban Planning and Management, Tourism Studies, Education, Creative Arts, Economics, Law, Medicine, Optometry and Nursing. Several online programmes are available and The UG also offers extra-mural classes at four locations through its Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE). The UG also offers the opportunity for student engagement in debating, sports, and cultural, religious and