Thu | Jan 17, 2019

CIN provides thought-provoking lecture series

Published:Thursday | October 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
CIN founder Stephen Hill.
Mark Shields to deliver this year's CIN Lecture Series.

CIN provides

thought-provoking lecture series

The Caribbean International Network (CIN) has been serving the diaspora for decades with the best of Jamaica's popular culture, bringing to the television screens in New York and the Tri-State area, local and regional entertainment, news, food and comedy.

Fourteen years ago, CIN ventured into another area, feeding a live audience with intellectual food for thought, through the CIN Lecture Series.

The series emerged as an idea expressed in a conversation CIN CEO Stephen Hill had years ago. Today, it connects Jamaica to the diaspora, bringing the brightest and the best to the New York stage to deliver intellectual presentations.

Hill recounts the inception of the event.

"The lecture series started as an idea when I was in Harlem having a conversation with Mr Lloyd Williams, who is the president of the Harlem Chamber of Commerce," Hill said.

He added: "We were talking about the Harlem Week celebrations and Mr Williams suggested that I invite Byron Lee to do a jump-up on the street corner, and I said, 'Jamaica and the Caribbean has more to offer than just 'jump-up'," Hill recalled.

The CEO says it was at that moment that he decided to do something that the diaspora would appreciate.

The first speaker of the lecture series was Stephen Hill's own brother and Marcus Garvey Scholar, Robert Hill.

"It was appropriate because Garvey made his home in Harlem," the CEO noted.

"What you really want were the Caribbean thought leaders to present their thoughts in the centre of the media universe, disperse it, it gets out there; what we need to do is have our voices heard globally," said Hill.

...'We can compete intellectually'

Noting that he will probably be retired in the next five years, Stephen Hill says he hopes Jamaica will find creative ways to market the country 's intellectual product to the rest of the world.

"We have to go out and show the world that we can compete intellectually. We compete in other ways, track and field, soccer, cricket; well, intellectually, we have to be able to compete and distinguish ourselves," he noted.

Hill says it is through the positive marketing of Jamaica's intellectual product that members of the diaspora will contribute and invest in the Jamaican economy.

The lecture series have impacted the lives of many, in fact, some said they are looking forward to the continuation of what they call "an important event."

Oswald 'Pal' Oaks, a Jamaican national who has been living in the US for many years, has attended seven of the 13 lecture series. He says he is looking forward to this year's event.

"I hope the lecture series will expand to other states, because there are many Jamaicans who are in America who would like to have access to such events," Oaks expressed.


Great experience


The sole female to ever present a CIN lecture, Diana McCaulay, says it was a great experience.

"It was a very positive experience and I am really grateful to have been given that opportunity," she said.

McCaulay pointed out that the event should be continued, as there are great opportunities for people to engage with the Jamaican community and discuss challenges facing Jamaica.

"I hope they (CIN) keep doing what they are doing. They have done a good job so far in identifying really interesting speakers and topical issues." McCaulay added.

CEO of the National Integrity Action (NIA), Professor Trevor Munroe, said the NIA remains a sponsor of the event because through intellectual discussions, tangible solutions are suggested by the diaspora about improvement and development of the country.

Munroe, who also presented at the CIN event, describes his presentation as a rich intellectual engagement and believes that the lecture series is an important avenue for growth.

These sentiments are echoed by Stephen Hill's business partner, Bob Gore, who says the lecture series is a local genius on Hill's part. He says it is the only intellectual presentation of its kind from the African diaspora in New York.

This year's CIN Lecture Series will be held on October 24 at the Schomburg Centre for Research in Black Culture in New York under the theme 'Jamaica's Crime Monster: Can it be tamed' and will be presented by Jamaica's former Deputy Commissioner of Police Mark Shields.