They say Jamaica boasts a veritable melting pot of cultures, and this was made obvious on Tuesday, February 19 when scores of ambassadors, supporters and practitioners of the arts turned up at the Cherry Gardens residence of Mexican Ambassador Gerardo Arredondo for the official launch of The Ambassadors Circle of Friends for Culture. This is an intercultural exchange initiative which presents a practical forum for understanding the dynamics and trends in culture of countries represented in Jamaica.
Cultural exchange is nothing new to serving ambassadors, as noted by guest speaker, Cuban Ambassador Yuri Lopez, as cultural exchange is a large part of what they are expected to do when posted.
Under the umbrella of Cultural Voice, The Ambassadors Circle is like cultural exchange on steroids. As Lopez noted, cultural exchanges enable individuals to understand the origin of their differences and recognise the similarities they share. "It is through this that caring human beings and a better world can be achieved."
According to creative director, Stephanie Thomas, Cultural Voice began as a blog in 2011 to share cultural views. However, the initiative has been evolving from what began in 1997 as Artistic Expression. "I encourage ambassadors to join this initiative and shatter the barrier between arts and culture," she said to the gathering.
With poetry from Velma Pollard and Monica Minott, and dancing by Renee McDonald and Camille Davis, this was a beautiful stew for all to enjoy.
The overcast skies cleared as if in homage to the initiative and the interaction continued outside while guests enjoyed callaloo quiche, jerk sausage and an assortment of hors d'oeuvres. All were singing the same song and reading from the same book in the name of cultural exchange till late into the night.