A report by Alexandra Simon for Caribbean Life News.
The Royal Caribbean International has partnered up with the New York-based organization — American Caribbean Maritime Foundation (ACMF), to sponsor a scholarship program supporting Bahamian students. The new initiative will benefit the students pursuing maritime studies, as well as the multi-island nation — which stands to see positive economic results, said an executive at the cruise line company.
”With our relationship and partnership with the wider Caribbean and specifically with The Bahamas, we see that we need to make significant investments to also make The Bahamas and Caribbean a part of that future picture, said senior vice president of marine operations, Greg Purdy.
The partnership between the two organizations has been in the works since October of last year with the goal of providing financial support to Maritime students interested in the field.
Because of cruise line company depends on the Caribbean for most of its business, it only makes sense that the company works to contribute more to the region, said founder and executive director of ACMF.
“We are a maritime organization, the Royal Caribbean is branded in the Caribbean, and most of their business is based in the Caribbean,” said Geneive Brown Metzger.
“I support the education of Caribbean mariners because majority of the people employed on these cruises are not from the region — so this only makes sense.”
Currently the scholarship will only support five students in The Bahamas, because the country plays a major market for the cruise line, according to Metzger.
But the scholarship is expected to expand to include other Caribbean countries and islands that serve the Royal Caribbean.
At a recent gala reception, two students — Shante Pearson and Tre’von Ferguson received scholarships.
Metzger says this scholarship program not only stands to offer more access to students interested in maritime careers, but will change generations. She cites one student’s emotional testimony on how her education will help her family out of generational poverty.
“In America a lot of us think of education as leading to better jobs, but for a lot of these students education is changing lives and has such an impact that it can change the trajectory of an entire family,” she said.