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UWI gets $26m boost for culture

Published:Thursday | April 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr Kenneth Baugh, and Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Yamaguchi on Tuesday signed off on a cultural grant of approximately $26 million.

The grant will mainly facilitate the improvement of the com-puterised language laboratory at the University of the West Indies, Mona, which also was a gift to the university from the Japanese government in 1996, in addition to the provision of Japanese language instructors, books and teaching materials.

Speaking after the signing and exchange of notes at the foreign ministry's New Kingston offices, Baugh and Yamaguchi described the grant as further evidence of the mutual commitment by both countries to strengthening ties.

They saw the grant as going a long way in enhancing the promotion of cultural and educa-tional activities, as well as the preservation of cultural heritage in Jamaica.

Baugh, noting that the area of education was one of great priority for Jamaica, welcomed partner-ships with countries such as Japan, which continue to positively impact the social and economic landscape of developing countries.

Japan's firm commitment

The grant will be executed through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is recognised as the world's largest bilateral development aid agency.

Baugh commended the agency for its continued commitment to development efforts in Jamaica.

For his part, Yamaguchi traced the history of Japan's involvement with the university and under-scored the firm commitment to assist the institution through the cultural grant. He said he had no doubt that the grant would achieve the aims and objectives of his government in promoting cultural, educational and research activities at the university which was influential to the Caribbean region.

Yamaguchi expressed the wish for the continued success of the Japanese's Language Programme and the hope that, in the long run, the university would continue to provide more graduates to teach the language, as well as to help in fostering Japan-Jamaica relations.