First-Ever Symposium on “Brand Jamaica” Set for UWI, July 16-17

Key professionals and practitioners in business, tourism, creative industries, sports, science and technology, media communication, marketing, politics, and academia will gather at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus (MultiFunctional Room, Main Library) on July 16-17, 2015 for the first staging of the Brand Jamaica Symposium.
The symposium, to be staged by The Re:Imagine Jamaica Project, a nation brand think tank founded by Jamaican journalist and scholar, Dr. Hume Johnson, and UWI’s Centre for Leadership and Governance (CLG), under the theme, ‘Re:Imagine Jamaica: Unlimited Possibilities’, will discuss some of the key issues, trends, challenges and practices that are shaping Jamaica’s public international image, as well as share experiences, perspectives, and the latest developments in the national drive to promote and protect Brand Jamaica.

On the heels of the recent 6th Biennal Conference of the Jamaica Diaspora held in Montego Bay, a symposium on Brand Jamaica is crucial and timely as it seeks to puts on the agenda several key issues of importance to Jamaica’s national identity and global competitiveness such as tourism, business and industry, the creative industries, sports, as well as how to protect Brand Jamaica from dilution, contamination and exploitation.

The summit will also tackle some of the reputational challenges that undermine and threaten Brand Jamaica such as crime, corruption and human rights, as well as how to handle communication challenges during times of crisis such as natural disasters, public health issues etc.

“Nations, regions and cities are today competing with each other for their share of the world’s tourists, investment, aid, students, for buyers of their products and services, for talent as well as for the attention and respect of the media and the global community. In such a competitive global environment, Jamaica is therefore obliged to develop, manage and leverage its national image to not just stand out, but also gain economic and social advantage”, says Dr. Hume Johnson, who is a professor of Public Relations at Roger Williams University, Rhode Island, USA, and will co-chair the conference alongside colleague Professor of Global Communication at RWU, Dr. Kamille Gentles-Peart.

“It is also important to begin a process of taking stock of the quality of the nation’s global brand and image, both the areas which are positive and can be leveraged for our economic benefit and political and social advantage as well as the aspects that threaten our good name, says Dr. Johnson.

“Our aim is to advocate for a re-imagining and repositioning of the Jamaican brand, the creation of a more complex narrative beyond sun, sand and sea, one that projects a more positive and complete image of the country centred on its people, culture and heritage. We also aim to engage over the two days various stakeholders and domestic sectors in grasping a fuller understanding of Brand Jamaica and the role they play in it. In addition, we wish to lobby for the establishment of a policy framework, and a overall Brand Jamaica strategy.

“It will also provide an occasion to engage the Jamaican Diaspora, and reflect on how the Diaspora may broaden the scope of its involvement in the development process for its own benefit and for Jamaica”, says conference co-chair and scholar on the West Indian Diaspora, Dr. Kamille Gentles-Peart. She adds that Jamaicans in the diaspora can help to solidify the positive image of Jamaica, mobilise support for the development initiatives at home, and participate in promoting brand Jamaica.

Speakers at the Brand Jamaica symposium 2015 include investment consultant and former Executive Director of JAMPRO with responsibility for investment, Michael McMorris, who will deliver a special lunch time address on July 16; State Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Arnaldo Brown, Executive Director of the Broadcasting Commission, Cordel Green; Film Commissioner, Carole Beckford; President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Nicola-Madden-Grieg, Roselyn Fisher of the Scientific Research Council (SRC) Member of the Ganja Taskforce, Delano Seiveright, and Lillyclaire Bellamy of the Jamaica Copyright Agency, among others.

The keynote speaker is Samantha North, a place branding specialist and journalist with the UK Telegraph and Al Jazeera who is based in Istanbul, Turkey. This special public lecture will be held on July 16 from 7pm-9pm at the Undercroft Building at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. The public is invited.

Other partners involved in the staging of the Brand Jamaica Symposium include Jamaica National, Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) and Department of Government (UWI), Spanish Court Hotel and Power 106FM/Music 99.

About the author

Staff Writer