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SVG to host Garifuna International Conference

SVG to host Garifuna International Conference

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Thirty delegates are expected to visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines to take part in the Garifuna Heritage Foundation’s International Conference.{{more}}

Delegates will come from neighboring countries such as Barbados, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique and Mexico. Honduras, Belize and The United States of America, Canada will also be represented at the conference.

The conference, which will run from March 10 to 14, 2012, is specifically geared toward the establishment of an International Garifuna Research Centre.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, February 27, President of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation David “Darkie” Williams stated that the Foundation is working towards receiving ideas on how this centre will be formulated. These ideas will be received through the medium of the conference.

He added that though there are centers in other countries, the centre to be established in St. Vincent will be an international one, and a centre of such magnitude should be based in St. Vincent as this country is the home of the Garifuna people.

According to information presented by the Garifuna Foundation, they have already established an International Advisory Body for the Centre, which comprises eight professors from Universities as far as the United States, and from Belize.

Chairperson of the International Garifuna Conference, Mike Browne, giving remarks at the press conference, stated that the Foundation is creating history through the establishment of the Garifuna Centre and the hosting of the conference. He added that it is the first time that there will be a Garifuna conference like this one anywhere in the world.

Browne noted that through this conference, the Foundation is hoping to impact all facets of society and that they are also looking at the possibility of placing Garifuna Language and Culture into the education system.

He also noted that as a country, we should recognize the uniqueness of our country as a tourism package. He said that the Garifuna Culture is distinct and there needs to be a nexus between tourism and Garifuna, so that we can sell a unique package. He further stated that most countries that have advanced economically have used their history.

The activities of the Conference will include a Pilgrimage by boat to the island of Balliceaux which will take place on Saturday, March 10. On that same day, there will be an opening ceremony for the Conference, Film Screening, Art Exhibition and Garifuna Marketplace with a lecture by featured speaker Dr. Joseph Palacio of Belize.

Sunday will see the showcase of two Garifuna films ‘Play Jonkunu Play” directed by Oliver Greene and “Kytangomingo Ema, the path of our ancestors” directed by Christian Foret of Martinique. Discussions will also take place. There will also be an all day film festival on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Tuesday will also see a Cultural Extravaganza.

The conference will be held under the theme ‘Living the Garifuna Heritage and Culture after 215 years- Strengthening links, forging networks, Claiming Ancestral Space.”

Persons needing more information should visit the conference website at www.garifunaresearchcenter.org. (OS)

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