UG launches Diaspora Centre

Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, has symbolically launched a Diaspora Centre to be attached to that institution of higher learning, as the University of Guyana on Friday drew the curtains on its first Diaspora Engagement Conference.

This development stems from the successful outcomes of the now-concluded forum, which prompted the University to explore the possibility of maintaining the impact by establishing the Centre here in Guyana.

During Friday’s proceedings, Vice Chancellor Griffith, in unveiling plans for the Diaspora Centre — currently in the pipeline — detailed the basis of the Diaspora hub, which will be housed off the premises of the University.

“The Centre has to do with the fact that one of my commitments for this conference is that what we discussed, what we decided, should not stay here only for this week. We need to have a mechanism to institutionalize, to take forward… and the Centre will be that mechanism,” he conveyed.

Outlining the objectives of the Diaspora Centre, the Vice Chancellor detailed the services which will be offered once the facility is operational.

“We’re envisaging the Centre to be a Centre that does research, outreach, instruction. We are working towards finding a programme of activities, but we did not want to wait till we have everything settled to get going, so this is a symbolic launch; the Centre is now open for business,” Griffith relayed.

Dr Griffith noted that while a physical Centre is not yet in place, teams have already been deployed to commence the preparations. He indicated that, with the current need for space at the University of Guyana, the Centre is likely to be housed off campus. However, a specific timeline has not yet been established for the physical establishment of a building.

“Well, we’re working on the basis of making it happen as quickly as we can; because the energy, the interest, the passion reflected here — and the wonderful suggestions, not only of things that the Centre can do, but things the Centre can do with regional institutions, Government entities, within Guyana, outside of Guyana — we want to be able to have a certain momentum kept,” he highlighted.

Working to secure financing to initiate construction of this Diaspora Centre, the University of Guyana will be targeting entities such as the Caribbean Development Bank and the Guyana Tourism Sector.

The Diaspora Engagement Conference, initiated this year, has seen members of the Guyanese diaspora gathering with the possibility of establishing this as a biannual event.