For More Information: Dr. Rupert Francis, 909-994-2490

 Unified Diaspora USA Leadership Summit Concludes with One Voice

New York, NY (November 27, 2018): The historic event in Morrow, Georgia from the 16th to 18th of November was billed as a “unified Jamaica Diaspora USA Leadership Summit”. This first-time effort was envisioned by the three US-based Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board Members to promote a cohesive and viable Diaspora community starting with the joint convening and discussion to initiate the creation of USA Diaspora Development Plan.

The Summit apparently concluded on several high notes with the general consensus around the need for a structure with clear purpose to galvanize and unify the US Jamaican Diaspora. A post-Summit report is expected in December highlighting the various activities and recommendations from participants. The Advisory Board Members and leadership then plan on undertaking widespread consultations across the Diaspora with diverse stakeholders in an effort to strongly inform the creation of a Development Plan. Along with periodic updates including media releases and other communiqués to the Diaspora community, the team is aiming to submit a progress report by the June 2019 Biennial Diaspora Conference in Jamaica.

Summit opened with participants hearing from different dignitaries including the Hon. Earl Jarrett, OJ, CD, JP, LLP, CEO of The Jamaica National Group (premier Summit sponsor) who highlighted that as “we meet at an important time in history”, the Diaspora is to not become isolated but to help and support each other and to “Stand up, stand strong, and be counted.”

 The keynote address by Minister of State with specific responsibility for Diaspora Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT), Senator the Hon. Pearnel P. Charles, Jr. noted that “This ground-breaking Leadership Summit is the first of its kind from a Jamaican Diaspora context. It has caught the attention of the wider Diaspora and will consequently serve as a model for collaboration and cohesiveness among Jamaicans globally.”

 Before closing, the Minister used the opportunity to announce that the 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference will convene in Kingston from 16th – 20th June 2019.

Strongly endorsing the Leadership Summit through financing was premier sponsor The Jamaica National Group along with Hardware & Lumber Ltd., Jamaica Tourist Board, Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill and Tru-Juice. The Atlanta Jamaican Association, Inc., under the leadership of President Tony Gray, was the non-profit fiscal sponsor and a major supporter.

The Summit featured sessions where leaders of varying competences engaged in a highly interactive process to discuss shared Diaspora vision and values; identifying what makes the Diaspora great and the challenges confronting it; and the creation of a legal institutional framework for Diaspora leadership and governance. The closing breakout sessions engaged leaders in dialogues around currently trending issues impacting the Diaspora and how they may collaborate across the nation despite their individual affiliations.

In the final analysis, it was evident by the gravity of discussions that included Mr. Earl Jarrett and several other guests, as well as attendees from the MFAFT, that those who came were engaged in the opportunity that was provided for them to share their thoughts and raise their proverbial hands to move to the next steps. Reportedly, many left the Summit feeling optimistic because they were engaged in a way like never before and are anxious to engage in recommendations outlined.

Entities desiring to learn more about the Summit and the strategic development planning process are encouraged to contact info@jdneusa.org.


The US-based Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board Members and their respective regions are Mrs. Akelia Lawrence-Maitland (Northeast USA), Dr. Rupert Francis (West/Mid-West USA) and Mr. Wayne Golding Sr, Esq. (Southern USA). They are members of the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board that advises Minister of State with specific responsibility for Diaspora Affairs in Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Pearnel P. Charles, Jr. with advisement on matters related to the Jamaica Diaspora.

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