Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Young cultural ambassador heads to Azerbaijan

Published:Wednesday | April 20, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Michelle Thomas

Michelle Thomas, the 2015 Kingston and St Andrew Festival Queen, has been selected to attend the Youth Event and the Seventh Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations, which takes place in Baku, Azerbaijan, on April 25-27, 2016.

"I am very excited about this opportunity and very humbled by the fact that I was selected from among 6,000 applicants from across the world. I look forward to representing Jamaica at this prestigious forum in Azerbaijan that many young people dream of attending," Thomas told The Gleaner.

The 'I Believe' initiative ambassador was invited to the forum based on her profile as a cultural ambassador and her experience in promoting cross-cultural understanding and fostering intercultural dialogue at the community and national levels.

"I expect to participate in the forum discussions and present my views on how we can achieve inclusive societies through peace, media, education and cross-cultural understanding," she added.

The forum is being held under the theme, 'Living together in inclusive societies: A challenge and a goal'.

Thomas has said that the forum is relevant for Jamaica as it will address the use of peace-building initiatives to combat terrorism and acts of crime and violence globally.

"Since Jamaica is a country plagued by crime and violence, I am of the view that peace-building strategies are relevant to assist the Ministry of National Security in this regard," she said.

 

STEPPING UP ADVOCACY

 

The forum will allow Thomas to increase advocacy for greater inclusiveness for persons with disabilities, an cause she is very passionate about.

"I would like to see greater allocation of resources in educational systems and within our physical environments to assist these individuals in achieving their academic and professional goals . It is also my desire to see Jamaicans being educated on how to treat or interact with persons with disabilities, especially children who are disabled, so they can be better appreciated and not be subjected to scorn and ridicule because of their incapacity," she said.