|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 30 - Monday, September 30, 2002
|Roseau Symposium Seeks to Overcome Development Challenges
RDF/DAAS Press Release
Roseau, 30 September 2002. From October 28-31, 2002, the Rosie Douglas Foundation (RDF) and the Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences (DAAS) will undertake a series of community-based activities leading up to the 2nd Annual Dominican Diaspora Symposium.
This year's theme is Overcoming Challenges Together. Prime Minister Pierre Charles will open the Symposium. Timed to coincide with Dominica's Independence Day Celebrations and Creole Festival, the Symposium takes place October 31st at the Government Financial Center in Roseau.
According to the late Prime Minister Douglas' brother, Adenauer Douglas, key business people, educators, and entertainers from Dominica and across the Diaspora will speak and hold practical workshops on topics relevant to Dominica's accelerated push forward.
Lead-up activities are being held all over the island. An RDF founding member and local business leader, Douglas has implemented a number of community development projects around the island in recent years.
RDF Executive Director Athenia Henry, who is spearheading the event, stated that "In keeping with the overall goal of the RDF, the annual symposium and surrounding activities will involve and engage Dominicans at home and abroad in the active self-development of Dominica.
We are using this time to improve and expand the bond between resident Dominicans and the Diaspora. At the same time, we are taking concrete steps to stimulate investment in the local economy and education system."
Henry highlighted the Homeward Bound Project, which she said will see returning nationals provide medical and dental exams, legal and immigration consultations, workshops for entrepreneurs, and information on college scholarships all free to the public.
Dominica's efforts to make the leap from less-developed country to emerging economy have been hampered by lack of investment, European trade protection, over-dependence on cash crops, under-funded education and health systems, and two devastating hurricanes.
Many believe chronic "brain drain" is also a major factor. The RDF/DAAS Symposium seeks to address all these issues head-on.
One of Dominica's favorite sons, attorney and author Gabriel Christian, will also return for the event. Mr. Christian delivered the eulogy at Prime Minister Douglas' funeral. "While we forge ahead with the projects coming out of the first symposium, we want to take this unique opportunity to further involve the community in moving Dominica forward economically and socially," said Mr. Christian. "As such, we will focus on a number of exciting joint investment initiatives in this year's event".
Mr. Christian added that these initiatives will emphasize eco-tourism, agriculture, sustainable energy, education, and civil society. He expects the events and investment opportunities to attract a large number of "Diasporans" and friends from the US, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean.
Hundreds of people participated in the first Dominican Diaspora Symposium, held in New York City in December 2001. According to Dr. Clayton Shillingford, president of the Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences (DAAS), "The symposium was seen as a natural outcome of the RDF/DAAS's desire to crystallize the Diaspora's involvement in the home island's development."
The RDF and DAAS have launched several projects, including one that resulted in a wind turbine being installed in Dominica just a few months ago. The week's events will also include many cultural events and an exhibition of local arts, crafts, and manufactured goods. Select events will be Internet-broadcast to further increase Diaspora participation.
The Rosie Douglas Foundation (RDF) is a nonprofit organization founded in November 2000 by Dominicans dedicated to the development of Dominicans at home and abroad. RDF's work is based on the late Prime Minister's belief that education is the key to self-development and empowerment. RDF identifies, fosters,
and implements ways for Dominica's overseas Diaspora to contribute to Dominican and Caribbean development through investment and the exchange of
skills and knowledge. Learn more about RDF at www.rosiedouglas.com.
The Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences (DAAS), a companion non-profit organization to the RDF, promotes and facilitates networking to bring
together skilled and professional Dominicans around the world. Visit www.da-academy.org to find network members committed to the national effort,
discussion papers on issues of national importance, and many other useful resources.
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