As part of its activities for National Independence Celebrations 2016 The Garifuna Heritage Foundation (TGHF) is partnering with the University of the West Indies Open Campus to convene its 3rd International Garifuna Conference at The Peace Memorial Hall, Kingstown, on October 11th -12th, 2016 .
This Conference is a significant part of TGHF’s work of Public Education and Awareness which is the main remit of the International Garifuna Research Center (IGRC). In 2012 the IGRC was launched to spearhead the development and implementation of various activities under this. Since that time TGHF has organized various Conferences, Workshops and Symposia to disseminate information on the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The First International Conference was held in March 2012 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and resulted in the Yurumein Declaration which specifically made a call for Reparations for the Garifuna people
The Theme of the Conference, “The Garifuna Diaspora: Yurumein and St.Vincent and the Grenadines- Retrieval, Inclusion and Reparations” is relevant to TGHF’s programmes and public Education efforts. The work of TGHF since our inception in 2001, has been constantly to deliver high quality Public Awareness and Education programmes to the people of St.Vincent and the Grenadines.
The objectives of the Conference are as follows:
- To address the issue of Reparation for any injustice suffered by the Indigenous Kalinago and Garifuna People.
- To create a further interest on the part of students in SVG and elsewhere on the need to continue research into the Garifuna Heritage and Culture;
- To contribute to the development of the International Garifuna Research Center.
- To follow up the work commenced at the 1st International Garifuna Conference held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on March 10th– 13th, 2012.
The Opening Ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Methodist Church Hall on Monday, October 10th, 2016 commencing at 5:30 pm and we take this opportunity to cordially invite the Media and the General Public to be present. A special feature of the Opening Ceremony will be an Address by Professor Guillermo Guevara, Dean of the National Experimental University of Tauca, Venezuela.
There are still significant challenges and opportunities for scholars, activists and practitioners to engage in the work of understanding, conceptualizing and creating policy dialogues in relation to the Garifuna Experience and the issues of Historical Land Rights, Cultural Retrieval and Reparations. However, there are insufficient opportunities to engage with Garifuna communities in this conversation in relation to the existing realities of the Caribbean and Central America.
The Conference which will commence at 9:00 am on both days will feature local and Overseas Presenters. Presenters from Canada, USA, Barbados, Venezuela, Belize, and Dominica have already confirmed their attendance. This year we are also pleased to have a number of scholars and activists from St. Vincent and the Grenadines who will be presenting Papers.
Registration will commence at 8:00 am on Tuesday, October 11th, 2016 . The Conference will hear Presentations from the following three Panels:
- Retrieval Techniques and Tools for Research. This Panel will examine The issue of Addressing Opportunities/ Challenges in accessing documentation, information, artifacts and other intellectual materials for the retrieval process.
- Experiences in Developing Relevant Educational Programmes for Indigenous Communities. This Panel will review Regional and International experiences/ Challenges/ Successes of Indigenous People in the process of cultural retrieval;
- History of the Garifuna People” Pre- Colonial, Colonial and Post Colonial” . Extensive information relating to the History of the indigenous people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be presented and discussed by scholars who have carried out considerable research in this field.
On Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 two Panels will be convened on the following Topics”
- Reparations and the Indigenous Cultural Experience . The Issues of Land Rights claims of the Garifuna resulting from historical legacies; Regional and International Experiences, challenges and opportunities of Advocacy around the issue of Reparations for Indigenous Peoples and Legal and practical Issues relating to establishing a case for Reparation for the Garifuna;.
- Actions for Indigenous Retrieval: Local Iniitiatives for Retrieving and promoting the Garifuna Cultural Heritage will be explored.
We are inviting the general public to register by emailing the Conference Secretariat, at email@example.com by September 30th, 2016 . Registration will also be done on the first day of the Conference, on Tuesday, 11th October between 8:00 and 9:00 am at the Peace Memorial Hall.
This is not the first collaboration between the UWI and the Foundation. Following the 2012 conference, TGHF was able to successfully negotiate with the University to have a publication of the presentations at that conference in ten (10) of the papers in the University’s Journal, Caribbean Quarterly: Volume 60 – No2 of June 2014. The UWI is the Caribbean’s signature Tertiary level Institution and is very proud that its Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles has long been associated with CARICOM’s initiatives to secure Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery.
TGHF have partnered with key Government Ministries and the Private Sector in this regard. To this extent TGHF continues to appreciate the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture , the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Education.
The planning committee for this event includes representatives from these Ministries as well as a member of staff of the National Public Library. For this Conference TGHF is partnering with the Open Campus of the University of the West Indies, UWI to deliver this event to the Vincentian public and to the rest of the world.
TGHF is also pleased to thank the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for once again providing support for the Cultural Retrieval Programme of TGHF and St.Vincent and the Grenadines as a whole. We thank the Embassy and Ambassador Pimentel himself for the continuing support.