MEDIA RELEASE – The Way Forward
As part of its 50th anniversary programme the National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) hosted a three-day international diaspora conference, Towards a Vision for the Indo-Caribbean Diasporic Culture from the 11th to 13th July 2014. The event was held at the NCIC Headquarters, Divali Nagar Compound, Chaguanas and featured presenters from India, USA, United Kingdom, Holland, Canada, Suriname, Mauritius, and Trinidad.
Hundreds representing various organizations and groups as well as other interested persons and youths participated in the conference which was declared officially open by Dr Surujrattan Rambachan on Friday. In his address he pointed out that the politics of past administrations may have ignored, side-lined or not taken seriously the contribution of the East Indian population. This might have occurred and in all probability continues to occur because of the lack of personnel within the relevant ministries who have knowledge of the East Indian community and culture. He also stated that perhaps their perception of its importance to national development is short-sighted.
The conference moved to continue discussions within the diaspora to identify and develop methodologies to attract funding for organisational existence and activities other than from the State. One strategy proposed is to develop cultural, culinary, and heritage tourism; identifying sites and activities beyond sun, sea, and sand. There were several calls for further research to be championed by NCIC or similar organisations. One research area is an assessment of the feasibility and sustainability of the current delivery of the Divali Nagar with consideration to introducing new concepts and elements. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) with consideration for political, economic, social, technological, legal, environmental, ethnic and demographic factors.
A need was also identified for an Indo-Caribbean Research Center and how it should be incorporated into strategic alliances with associated organisations locally and internationally. This physical space will support the impetus for a process of social re-engineering designed in consultation with younger generations of the Indo-Caribbean diaspora. It will allow T&T and other countries to achieve unity in diversity and ethnic tolerance; respect for race, religion, gender and other socio-economic circumstances and demographics.
To engage youth more actively and avoid exclusion of any nature, the creation of a forum or platform to develop a common policy for all stakeholders and like-minded diaspora groups was proposed. This may take the form of a continued conversation on the future of the Indo-Caribbean diasporic culture perhaps not only in a symbolic organisation but a forum, maybe every 2 years, within differing countries in the Indo-Caribbean diaspora. In addition, a call was also made for the establishment of a Pan-Indo-Diaspora Organization to permanently link all Indo-Diaspora countries.
The NCIC came in for very high praise from both international and local delegates for their initiative in organizing this conference that looked specifically at the future of Indian culture in the Indo-Caribbean diaspora.
The Executive of the NCIC and Conference Organising Committee wishes to thank all presenters, members of the public, well-wishers and the media for their dedication and support in building the imperative towards a vision for the Indo-Caribbean diasporic culture.
Photos of the NCIC International Diaspora Conference 2014 – Opening Ceremony can be viewed on www.lime.tt
Dr Primnath Gooptar
Please contact 470-0133 / firstname.lastname@example.org for any further information, queries and interviews.