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(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The African Diaspora Conference has made a strong call for more emphasis to be placed on African-centred education in the Caribbean Region, noting the need for regional universities to introduce more structured programmes of teaching and research in African Studies and for regional authorities to standardise and recognise certification and qualifications in such disciplines.

The call came recently at the two-day African Diaspora Global Conference jointly organised by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the African Union, (AU) and the Barbados Commission for Pan African Affairs and held in Bridgetown, Barbados on 27-28 August 2007.

Hosted under the theme Fostering Sustainable Global Dialogue with Africa and its Diaspora: The Case of the Caribbean, the Conference argued that a holistic approach to repairing the damage done to the African psyche and personality must be implemented and that education must be the key driver in reclaiming African space, spirituality, history and culture.

Expressing concerns about misinformation to Africans throughout the Diaspora, the Conference advocated for the publication of more books and other web-based educational materials to refute misconstructions about the history and heritage of the continent of Africa.

It was also recommended that tertiary institutions in the African and Caribbean regions promote their programmes in both regions. This, according to the Conference could be supported by the development of a data bank of universities and courses offered. This bank could be further supported by a skills data bank which could promote skills mobility and support between the two regions.

The Conference also gave expression to the Statement and Plan of Action of the South Africa-African Union-Caribbean Diaspora Conference held in Kingston, Jamaica, in March 2005, which, among other things, had called on participants to explore mechanisms for the institutionalization of links between Africa and the Caribbean and for follow up conferences to be held on a biennial basis.

Held in the context of the Bicentennial Global Dialogue on ‘Slavery, the Slave Trade, Reconciliation, Reparations and Social Justice,’ the Conference was one of six regional consultations leading up to the African Diaspora Ministerial Conference scheduled for November 2007, to prepare for the African Union (AU) African Diaspora Summit planned for 2008. Both the Ministerial Conference and the AU African Diaspora Heads of State and Government Summit are to be held in South Africa.

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