Jamaica High School Alumni Associations and the Jamaican Diaspora Advisory Board discuss issues affecting Jamaicans in the U.S. and at home

The Jamaican Diaspora Southern United States – Alumni Committee hosted a meeting of Jamaican Alumni Associations on Saturday, April 2, 2005 at Florida Atlantic University in Davie, Florida.

This meeting was a direct result of the Jamaican Diaspora Conference held in Kingston, Jamaica in June 2004. At that Conference the Government of Jamaica, in conjunction with several private companies, held a two-day dialogue to engage the Jamaican Diaspora on issues impacting Jamaicans living overseas as well as on the island. It is estimated that an equal number of Jamaicans live outside of the country as the 2.5 million who reside at home.

Dr. Rupert Rhodd, associate professor of economics at FAU is the chairperson of the Jamaican Diaspora Alumni Committee – Southern United States, and sees this first meeting as a continuation of the Diaspora Conference. “This is the first major step in our effort to work together for students of our alma mater and the country of Jamaica,” remarks Dr. Rhodd.

The attendees were welcomed to FAU by Dr. Donna Cooke, associate dean of the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University, and a fellow Jamaican. The meeting was attended by representatives from Knox College, Dinthill Technical High School, Queens High School, Camperdown High School, Clarendon College, Meadowbrook High School, St. Catherine High School, Wolmer’s High School, Jamaica College, the Guild of Graduates of the University of the West Indies, and Excelsior High School.

The group was addressed by attorney Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, the Jamaican Diaspora Advisory Board member for the Southern United States and, an Alpha Academy alumna. Mrs. Walker-Huntington explained the role of the Diaspora Advisory Board as being two-fold. One is to advise the government on issues impacting Jamaicans overseas and the other is to be the liaison for overseas Jamaicans. She gave an update on the work done since the June, 2004 Conference and welcomed further participation in the Jamaican dialogue.

Air Jamaica’s Community and Special Market Sales Manager, Mrs. Kaye Chong, a Queens High School alumna also addressed the group. She thanked them for their support of the national carrier and pledged the airline’s continued support for the Jamaican overseas community.

The Jamaican Diaspora Alumni Committee has launched an Alumni E-Newsletter that reaches out to all the Alumni Associations with information about what each organization is involved with and a calendar of events for all the associations. For more information on the Jamaican Diaspora Organization, visit them at

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