Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States, Stephen Vasciannie, in one of his first duties on home soil, yesterday officially launched the University of the West Indies Mona, Western Jamaica Campus Ambassadorial Corps.
The Ambassadorial Corps is an initiative led by a team of final-year students at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) and involves 12 outstanding members of Western Jamaican, who are to serve as advocates for the campus with the business and academic communities, deliver lectures, and promote the interests of UWI Mona Western Jamaica Campus in the wider society.
The appointed ambassadors are Custos of Westmoreland, Father Hartley Perrin; executive chairman of Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited, Mark Hart; Dr Barbara Salmon-Grandison, CEO of the National Health Fund; Everton Anderson, principal of Hampton High School; Heather Murray, Adam Stewart of Sandals Resorts International, Omar Robinson of Round Hill Hotel and Villas, businessman Howard Ward, of Ward Power Tools; Yoni Epstein of Island Outsourcers, Ernest Grant of Rainforest Seafoods, Hope Markes of Kiwanis International and Fred Smith of Exclusive Holidays.
At the programme launch at the Iberostar Grand in Montego Bay, Ambassador Vasciannie commended the Western Jamaica Campus for conceptualising the Ambassadorial Corps, which he described as "an excellent initiative".
The ambassador notes that while the UWI focuses on students in their pursuit of learning, it must also promote the welfare of the wider society in other ways. "We, the people in the wider society, pay taxes and make other contributions to the organisation of tertiary studies. And we expect that our universities will be sensitive to our day-to-day challenges and concerns, even as we want our universities to promote personal academic development," said Vasciannie, the former principal of the Norman Manley Law School.
He said it is expected that some of the research and learning at the institution will address social needs in immediate ways. "In seeking to promote the wider social interest, some persons at the Western Jamaica Campus could consider giving particular focus to the activities and concerns of this part of Jamaica," the ambassador charged. "This is an area in which tourism and agricultural production are important to the lives of many, which open the door to the suggestion that there should be more and more studies emanating from the denizens of western Jamaica on the impact of the tourism and agricultural sectors here."
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