Youth In Diaspora Urged To Promote Cultural Industries

Senator Kamina Johnson

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, is calling on members of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Youth Council (GJDYC) to become ambassadors for Jamaica’s indigenous products by leading the charge in promoting the country’s cultural and creative industries.

“Jamaica’s culture is one of our strongest assets. In fact, it is the essence of who we are as a people. No group can provide better or more exposure to our culture, in my mind, than our young people,” she said.
“The GJDYC, therefore, has a tremendous opportunity to lead the promotion among generations in the diaspora,” she added.

Senator Johnson Smith was speaking at the Inaugural GJDYC Online Youth Summit on Tuesday (June 16) under the theme ‘Leading Beyond COVID-19: Industries, Impact and Innovation’.

The Minister noted that the cultural and creative industries offer great potential for economic gains as the country looks beyond the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

She said that members of the GJDYC can play a key role in promoting cultural industries by creating partnerships with the Ministry of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport and other relevant cultural organisations in Jamaica, to galvanise young people in the diaspora and strengthen their connection to their roots, while ensuring that commercial opportunities are identified and harnessed.

“We, therefore, want to see and share more of what you can do, and what you are desirous of doing to develop our cultural sector and cultural entrepreneurship in the interests of sustainable development,” she told the youngsters.

Senator Johnson Smith said that as Jamaica navigates the global crisis there is also opportunity for the diaspora to assist economic recovery through knowledge transfer and mentorship.

“This is a potential area in which the GJDYC could identify qualified individuals to share expertise in business development and to mentor young people, not to mention, of course, identifying partnerships for projects and companies across borders,” she noted.

“There is a vast and diverse network of skills, talents, and expertise on both sides of the dynamic of Jamaica and our diaspora. These need to be harnessed,” she added.

“Therefore, I challenge you to look for the identified opportunities. I encourage you to use your collective thinking to devise innovative solutions and action to combat the issues presented by the global crisis, and to transform them into true opportunities,” she added.

The five-day summit is designed to facilitate meaningful discussion that drives change, shapes policy and advocacy efforts post COVID-19 that align with the mission and objectives of the GJDYC.