The governor of Quintana Roo, Roberto Borge Angulo, announced that with the invaluable support of the National Chamber of the Mexican Publishing Industry (Caniem), the 2015 Caribbean Cultural Festival will host the first edition of the Caribbean International Book Fair, which will be held from Nov. 12 to 22 in the Plaza de la Reforma in Cancun, with the participation of major publishing companies and literary authors.

“An important aspect of this edition of the Caribbean Cultural Festival is the academic exchange and joining together with our neighboring Caribbean nations, where ambassadors, ministers of culture, curators and cultural promoters will participate in workshops,” said the governor.

Borge Angulo said the 2015 Caribbean Cultural Festival, The Sea of Arts, will be the fifth edition and run from Nov. 3 to 22.

This edition has a new vision and greater scope, which will bring artistic performances and cultural activities to the regions and neighborhoods of major cities of the state, with the unprecedented presence of 19 represented countries and more than 1,700 participating artists, he said.

Education and Culture Secretary José Alberto Alonso Ovando said that in order to give the proper dimension to each artistic category in the different cities, it was decided to structure the festival into a series of specific events for young people: literature, theater and music.

“We’re talking about a new concept of our traditional Caribbean Festival, which will now be closer to the population,” he said.

For the original report go to http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2015/11/first-edition-of-the-caribbean-international-book-fair-to-be-held-in-cancun-nov-12-22/


This interview with Chris Farrell appeared in The Ditmas Park Corner.

In local Naomi Jackson‘s new novel, The Star Side of Bird Hill, two girls spend the summer of 1989 with their grandmother in Barbados, and it’s Jackson’s deft descriptions of both people and places that earned her the accolade  “a writer to watch” from Publisher’s Weekly. An unanticipated twist in the plot keeps the story compelling, but it’s Jackson’s talent for capturing character and experience that really elevates the book.

Jackson was born and raised in Flatbush, but she’ll be a visiting professor teaching creative writing at Oberlin in the spring. Before she leaves for the Midwest, she spent some time with us talking about Brooklyn and the world.

DPC: You write in The Star Side of Bird Hill, “In Brooklyn, Barbados was Bimshire, a jewel that Bajans turned over in their minds, a candy whose sweetness they sucked on whenever the bitter cold and darkness of life in America became too much to bear.” Do American-born children of the West Indian diaspora feel the same way, seeing the island as solace in hard times?

Naomi Jackson: I can only speak for my own experience as an American-born child of Caribbean parents. I saw the Caribbean when I was growing up as both a space of refuge and that somehow solved a mystery of who and how my parents are, and how they came to be that way. For me, it was less about solace than about a meaningful connection to the places that gave rise to my family and myself.

Although you’ve just published your first novel, you are fairly well-traveled for a young writer. You went to Williams College in Massachusetts, studied fiction at the Iowa Writers Workshop, spent some time in Philadelphia when you were finishing your book and traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship to earn your master’s in creative writing from the University of Cape Town. Were you homesick for Brooklyn they way your parents were for the islands while you were away? What did you miss most?

Yes, I both love to travel and suffer from terrible homesickness. I experienced it for the first time in college, and survived it then by FedEx packages of beef patties and Jamaican soft drinks that my parents sent me and coming home almost every weekend my freshman year.  In South Africa, I missed my family and friends, and the food; I had the oddest experience of coming home and not remembering where things were, forgetting simple directions, like how to get to my sister’s house. In Iowa City, it was again family, friends, and food I missed; my parents sent me a care package that first fall that was a balm. It’s always the same things that I miss, and the solution is to make my home base here in Brooklyn.

For many Americans, the Caribbean is a singular destination, but in part because of the history of colonialism, the islands of the West Indies have distinct cultures and traditions. What is special about Barbados, where your mother’s family is from, and about your father’s homeland of Antigua?

Gosh, this is so hard to capture in just a few sentences! It’s true that each of the islands in the Caribbean is quite distinct. I’ve spent time in Barbados (motherland), Antigua (fatherland), and in Jamaica, where my stepmother’s from. I’m going to respectfully deflect this question because I wouldn’t know where to begin. Let’s just say that each of these places has a distinct flavor based on its colonial history, its food, its dialect, its culture, art and the personalities and dispositions of its people.

Living in Brooklyn, it’s easy to see the impact that Caribbean cultures have had on New York. The main characters of your novel are two Brooklyn teenagers spending the summer with their grandmother in Barbados. 16-year-old Dionne has a sense of fashion and style that is dazzling to the local girls on the island. What other ways has Brooklyn left its mark in the West Indies through the visits by the children of the generation that left the island for the U.S.?

I think that fashion is a big one; I remember being in Jamaica and seeing someone rocking a shearling coat, which was the style in New York City then, and not exactly appropriate for the tropical climate in Jamaica. The really interesting question though, is actually the impact that the West Indies has had on Brooklyn, New York, and American culture more generally. I know that American hip-hop was heavily influenced by Jamaican music when it was born in New York City in the 1970s. Rihanna (Barbados) and Nicki Minaj (Trinidad) have had a powerful influence on culture and music both in the United States and abroad.

When Sonny Fox, who was born in Brooklyn and went on to host a children’s television show in the 1960s, was reminiscing about the neighborhood, he told the Ditmas Park Corner, “Now you have all different names for it, but it was just Flatbush when I lived there.” I’m not sure it’s just old timers who feel that way. If you started out at the Kings Theater and went walking down Cortelyou Road toward Coney Island Avenue, would you feel like you were leaving Flatbush?

This is a fun question, and one I’ve been thinking about as I do research for my next book, which is set in Brooklyn. When I was growing up, Flatbush was all-encompassing. It’s only recently, probably in the last ten years, that I’ve heard people distinguishing neighborhoods – Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Ditmas Park, Victorian, or Vicky, Flatbush. I see how these distinctions can be sources of neighborhood pride as well as harbingers of gentrification. It’s still all Flatbush to me.

I know you are sometimes on Cortelyou to visit Third Root to practice yoga. What else brings you to “the Ditmas side of Flatbush”? What are your favorite spots in the neighborhood? Any secret places to curl up with a good book?

Third Root is awesome. I was a member of my beloved Flatbush Food Co-op for years, and will likely join again. Café Madeline makes a good cup of coffee, though I am astounded (and admittedly a bit overwhelmed) to see how much the café has expanded, and how many people work, chat, and hang out there. My other favorite neighborhood spots are the homes of my friends who live in Ditmas.

You’ve mentioned the inspiration of Edwidge Danticat, the Haitian-American author whose novel Breath, Eyes, Memory is a classic account of a West-Indian teenager growing up in Brooklyn. What other writers have influenced you?

Edwidge Danticat is a guiding light, and I’ve been lucky enough to see her a few times this year. Also, Junot Diaz, Jamaica Kincaid, Tiphanie Yanique, and some others we talk about throughout this interview.

Your coverage of this year’s Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad highlighted the number of contemporary Anglophone Caribbean authors working in sci-fi and speculative fiction, helping widen the genre beyond robots, rocket ships and rayguns. What do you think attracts West Indian authors to science fiction, and what are some of the new elements their voices bring to it?

I think that the existence of African-based spiritual traditions in the Caribbean (obeah, vodun, Santeria, etc.) predispose my people to believing in magic and the paranormal, and there are speculative fiction elements even in some of the realist Caribbean novels I read. I’ll be exploring this in depth in a class I’ll be teaching at Oberlin next spring, so I’ll have to report back on this one.

The Jamaican novelist Marlon James, who provided an appreciative blurb for your book, just won the Man Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings. It must be exciting to see a colleague having such success. The book also won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. Did you see James at the Lit Fest?

I’m a huge fan of Marlon James’s work, and was thrilled to celebrate his winning the Man Booker Prize; I don’t think the shine will wear off for some time. I didn’t see James at the Lit Fest this past year, but I did spy him at Brooklyn Book Festival, and will hopefully see him again soon. I appeared on Al Jazeera America’s The Stream with James and some fellow writers to talk about A Brief History of Seven Killings. 

You wrote a lovely appreciation of Barbadian artist Sheena Rose, whose painting “Too Much Makeup” was used as the cover for The Star Side of Bird Hill.  Do you often take inspiration as a writer from artists working in other fields, like art, music, or film?

I love to listen to music and to watch films; when things are going well, I try to see at least one or more movies each week. I’m lucky enough to have many visual artists as close friends, and I certainly take inspiration from what they do. I wrote a bit about art and its influence on my work for Poets & Writers online portal.

Brooklyn’s been the setting for many great novels, including Fortress of Solitude, Tropic of Capricorn and Paule Marshall’s Brown Girl, Brownstones, about a Bajan family living in Bed-Stuy in the 30s. What are your favorite Brooklyn fictions?

Well, you just stole one of my favorites, Paule Marshall’s Brown Girl, Brownstones. I love that book as well as June Jordan’s memoir, Poet: A Soldier’s Childhood. There’s also Sophie’s Choiceand A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

The Star Side of Bird Hill has been garnering great reviews, and I know you’ve been out helping readers connect with the book—we met earlier this year at the Brooklyn Book Festival, where you joined a panel aimed at helping book clubs find good reads for the coming year. You also recently did a reading as part of the Brooklyn Public Library’s Bookish series. Have you had time to start working on a new book? What’s next for you?

It’s been so much fun to travel and connect with readers both around Brooklyn and across the country. Now that I’m mostly done with touring, I’m focused on getting some rest and working on my next novel, Behind God’s Back, a historical novel focused on three generations of Caribbean women in Brooklyn from the 1930s to the 2000s, and a screenplay adaptation of one of my short stories, “Ladies.”

For the original report go to http://ditmasparkcorner.com/blog/neighbors/local-author-naomi-jackson-connects-brooklyn-and-the-carribbean-in-her-writing

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 5, 2015

Linking Afro Puerto Rican Bomba to New Orleans in the Bronx


This article by Charlie Vázquez appeared in The Huffington Post.

I was riveted last week by a performance of Bamboula, by the Bronx’s Bombazo Dance Co., which fused two traditions sharing a common root: Afro Puerto Rican bomba and bamboula from New Orleans. A corps of drummers electrified the air, kicking the production off with a syncopated overture that incorporated bomba “barril” drums, African skins and conga. The energy kept escalating until the dancers appeared, embodying the spiritual connection between the drum and the human heart and soul — what remains of our ancestors within us.

Choreographer and dancer Milteri Tucker’s newest evening-length work was inspired by her family roots in the Caribbean and New Orleans and traces Afro Puerto Rican bomba drum, chant and dance back to its Congolese origins, where bamboula also begins. The performance was part of the Pepatian/Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance’s (BAAD!) Open Call, supported by the Jerome Foundation in conjunction with the Bronx Council on the Arts.

This world premiere of hybridized drum and dance was performed in collaboration with Baba L. Grey, of New Orleans’ Bamboula 2000, and was inspired by Tucker’s travels to New Orleans, home of her late father, with her company, which performed in legendary Congo Square in It was there that locals informed her that the Puerto Rican bomba performance they brought from the Boogie Down Bronx resonated with a local tradition in The Big Easy.

Charlie Vázquez: What gave you the idea to connect Puerto Rico and New Orleans via Congolese drum and dance form?

Milteri Tucker: My family roots! Bamboula from New Orleans and bomba from Puerto Rico have their roots in the Congo. Bomba dance stemmed from the African slaves that were brought to Puerto Rico. It has been molded to its current form of execution through the influences of “criollos” and from neighboring Caribbean Islands. Bamboula dance (from the Kikongo language, which means “to remember and honor our ancestors”) still preserves much of its Congolese movement, as compared to Puerto Rico’s modernized style. Having the same root musically, Bamboula can be described as a faster sicá in Puerto Rico’s bomba rhythm, with a distinct sound and flavor. While these cultures are different, a connection exists between both.

“Bailes de bomba” for example, were originally group dances celebrated by a community in Puerto Rico, unlike today where the presentational stage form of one dancer advancing to the drummers at a time seems to be the norm. It is known that in these “bailes de bomba”, the lead drummer would pick up on the accents of various dancers dancing in unison. Just as in New Orleans, bamboula was danced in much the same way, with the exception of the “calinda”, another dance and rhythm found in both cultures. There exist threads of connectivity between the two styles and reunifying them to showcase their shared African root was very successful.

CV: What unique challenges did this unprecedented and experimental work pose for you?

MT: From a production point-of-view, the biggest challenge was orchestrating everyone’s schedule. Involving eighteen people in the production was no easy feat to coordinate. We had three separate rehearsals: my finding the basic movements, demonstrating and setting choreography to my dancers and incorporating the drummers and musicians. A second challenge was going back to the beauty of simple steps, stripping away all the European technique and relaxing with the natural and simple, yet intricate, dance steps.

CV: What are Bombazo Dance Co.’s future plans for staging Bamboula?

MT: This is in the works. We will definitely present it again! Let’s Make That Drum Talk!®

Milteri Tucker Concepción is a Bronx choreographer born and raised in Puerto Rico. She holds degrees in Dance, Biology and Chemistry and a Masters in Dance from NYU. She’s the founder and artistic director of Bombazo Dance Co. and has worked for distinguished dance companies and choreographers in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and the United States, having performed in all of those places and beyond.

For the original report go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charlie-vazquez/linking-afro-puerto-rican_b_8454248.html

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 5, 2015

International cast for Curacao-based film ‘Double Play’


A post by Peter Jordens.

Wilson Morales reports for Black Film that film producer Lisa Cortes (Precious) has announced that Lennie James (The Walking Dead), Colin Salmon (London Has Fallen), Isaach De Bankolé (Casino Royale), Alexander Karim (FX’s Tyrant) and Mustafa Shakir (Quarry, HBO’s Criminal Justice) will star in Double Play, the upcoming film from director Ernest Dickerson (Juice, Never Die Alone). Academy Award and Emmy winner Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman, Roots), Melanie Liburd (Game of Thrones), Saycon Sengbloh (currently starring off-Broadway in Eclipsed), Bronson Pinchot (True Romance) and newcomer Dani Dare (NCIS New Orleans) will also star in this island drama.

Based on Frank Martinus Arion’s internationally acclaimed novel of the same name, considered to be Arion’s magnum opus, the film is set in the 1970s on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. The screenplay was written by Evan Jones and Alaric Alexander Smeets. Cortes and Gregory Elias will produce. Patrick Murguia is the Director of Photography. Kimberly Hardin, CSA is casting. The film is set to shoot on location in Curaçao in November 2015.

Set in 1973 and 2010, Double Play is the story of Ostrik (Salmon)’s return to his childhood home, and the memory of a fateful day more than 25 years prior. Over the course of that day, and a long-standing game of dominoes, the fates of four men (James, Karim, De Bankolé, and Shakir) are revealed through a journey of love, loss and deadly betrayal. Shooting on location in Curaçao, the film will utilize its surroundings by emphasizing the beauty of the landscape, the music and the people. Great local music of the era will be performed by Aymee Nuviola (Celia).

Says Elias, “What is important to me about this project is the role of women as described in the book and portrayed in the film. It underscores that regardless how disrespectful and humiliating men often treat their wives or loved ones, women’s strong will, pride and determination to survive always prevail. The message of this picture is relevant and unchanged in many societies around the Globe today.”

Says Cortes, “It’s a great honor to bring Mr. Arion’s classic novel to the screen. I’m delighted by the depth and scope of talent that we’ve assembled to tell this beautifully moving and universal story.”

Lisa Cortes is known for her work on Precious, The Woodsman, and Shadowboxer. Gregory Elias, producer of the Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival and Curacao International Film Festival Rotterdam, is financing through his Foundation ‘Fundashon Bon Intenshon’.

For the original report, go to http://www.blackfilm.com/read/2015/11/louis-gossett-jr-lennie-james-and-more-to-star-in-ernest-dickersons-double-play.

Additional cinematic details are at http://deadline.com/2015/11/double-play-movie-lennie-james-colin-salmon-ernest-dickerson-1201605561 and http://www.backstage.com/resources/detail/productionlisting/double-play-85509.

Also see our previous post Caribbean Novel ‘Double Play’ Headed To Big Screen With Director Ernest Dickerson.

Note: Two members of the international cast have a Caribbean connection. Lennie James (1965) was born in England to Trinidadian parents. Melanie Liburd (1987) is half English, half Kittician; her father was born in St. Kitts and Nevis.

As Antilliaans Dagblad reports, Curaçaoan professionals are also involved in the making of the film. They include the abovementioned Alaric Smeets (script) as well as Felix De Rooy (production design). In addition, some 30 local actors and actresses will have a role in the film. For the original article (in Dutch), see http://antilliaansdagblad.com/index.php/nieuws-menu/12304-cast-double-play-bekend.


An interview published in BlackNet.co.uk

This young twenty-something explores African-Caribbean women’s somewhat tumultuous exploration of Afro hair and identity in her play ‘Dark and Lovely’.

“I want black women to feel seen, recognised, loved by someone who stands in solidarity with them. That’s the dream”

Selina has a bold and warm presence; it is obvious that she has strong sense of identity, cultivated by what she lovingly describes as, very loving, excellent parents, patient, supportive, loyal friends and nurturing mentors and teachers’. She is Inspired by many – her mum, her dad, her Bobby Baker, Cecile Emeke , Audre Lorde and‘the really, really funny and clever people she follows on twitter.’ Now a mentor to many, I talk to the self – confessed showoff on the eve of the next leg of her ‘Dark and Lovely’ UK tour after selling out at the Oval Theatre.

Drawn into performing arts as youngster, Selina played an ugly sister in a school play and revelled in the delight of being her father’s pride; ironically after a wardrobe malfunction involving a knotted, matted wig. Who knew, years later hair, wigs and weaves would become a central theme in such a great play.

“I wanted to explore hair because it felt like the only sincere connection I had to the part of the city I was commissioned to make work in – but also because for me, my hair was undealt with, something that held weight for me (whether it should or shouldn’t is beside the point, the fact is, it did) and needed resolving. Hair matters. Because in a racist and patriarchal world, beauty and race matter. It’s as simple and as messy as that.”

Selina spent time in Birmingham at salons and barbershops examining our love of all things Afro hair, her play is multi-layered and delves into the complexities surrounding African-Caribbean identity. Unfazed, there was nothing shocking about what she learned by her research, Selina as a black woman herself was not foreign to what she was about to explore; however, what was revealed was painful. In a time where many African-Caribbean women are exploring their natural textures it’s apparent that the information on natural hair is not everywhere…yet…

“I don’t think the mass influx of information has necessarily reached everyone – that was something I was aware of when researching – if you’re in the whole natural hair as a movement, it can feel pervasive – but I think it is not that for many women.”

Social media and the slew of online blogs have clearly made a massive impact on the discourse around hair. I ask if African-Caribbean women are more sensitive to the issues of Afro hair, especially when engaging with Europeans?

“I’m not sure if women are more or less sensitive, or if they are just able to articulate their feelings more readily – and to find others who agree with them or share their experience. I can remember my mum having these same conversations with my aunties in our kitchen in the 90s – no one could hear us then, but if we have the conversation on Twitter now, it becomes a part of public discourse. I think anything that makes black women feel empowered and confident in their decisions is a good thing – but I’m hesitant to point towards trends, because I’m sceptical of them.”

…And our men…? Do they play a part in understanding issues surrounding Afro-hair and identity for African-Caribbean women?

“Hmmm. I think African-Caribbean men should focus on the hair issues that they have, before they are focusing on identity issues for women. One of the most loving, kind and helpful things I think we can ever do is allow one another peace and autonomy – respect one another’s bodies and aesthetics as our own business; not project our issues onto others. That’s something we can all do, regardless of gender. Similarly to the last question… A respectful silence, and beginning by looking at the coloniser within, rather than projecting out.”

‘Dark and Lovely’ is a deep multi-sensory experience thus almost addictively engaging. Selina describes her own creative process as an obsession, a niggling angry feeling that ultimately engulfs her.

“I’m angry about something. Not a big explosive, pow pow anger – more of a niggle. I find myself fixating on it, debating it with an imaginary person. Usually, I feel like nuance is missing somewhere in discourse around the source of the anger. I begin to obssess over it – read about it, changed my Twitter feed, Facebook feed, Instagram and Tumblr accordingly so I’m saturated in the topic, read loads of books about it, lots of journalism, usually linked with an academic. I compile a playlist about it – which I’ll listen to constantly. The playlist creates a set of images in my head, usually two or three key ones that need to be created. I enlist a designer, we start working on how we might create those images. Next is the text – I start interviewing, and engaging in conversation with the people who are most affected by the topic – I record conversations, sometimes with a dictaphone, but more often by having a convo, then going straight to somewhere quiet and scribbling everything down – the texture of a conversation is often more important than what is said. At this point, I stop gathering information, and start to self-reflect, connect me as a person to the material. This is a nightmare for my creative team and producer, as I usually shut everybody out at this point, it takes ages, I become extremely terrified the show will be awful. But when I come out of the other side of that time I either have a concept (building a dress out of cake for 8 hrs, writing 1000 questions about race for 24 hours) or a script and then we plunge in. My aim is never to create a play about ‘x’ – its always to create something that feels like the thing I’m exploring. So Dark and Lovely is ‘sensory’ because hair is hugely tactile, is engulfed by smells good and bad, and is intimate.”

From her works it is clear that Thompson is an avid reader. The last book she read was ‘Redefining Realness’ by Janet Mock; however she explains why ‘Sister Outsider’ by Audre Lorde left the deepest impression on her and tells me she would loved to have read it years prior…

“I didn’t read it that long ago – I read it last Christmas. But it changed my life; changed the person that I wanted to be, encouraged me to trust my voice and my instincts, and to try, try, try to live with integrity and bravery and honesty.”

After Selina tricked me into becoming her hair stylist for the evening in her play, as a fellow naturalista I wanted to know what was in her favourite natural hair recipe…

“I used to make a detangling spritz with a little avocado oil, rose absolute, jasmine absolute and sweet orange oil, with water. The smell used to make me so happy, I almost didn’t mind the fact that detangling can be super tedious.”

Clearly fearless in detangling and deconstruction the intricacies of race and hair for African-Carribbean women in the UK, the next project sounds even more gripping. I suspect a warm concoction of fear, anger and love will be good for her creative juices. I look forward to it and much more from Miss Thompson, her next play is…

“A big big play on colonialism and the Atlantic Ocean as a place for communion… I’m very scared to make it.” 

Selina Thompson’s ‘Dark and Lovely’ tour continues until November 28. To find out dates, location and venues go to: http://selinathompson.co.uk/whats-on/

Read TBB’s Review of Dark and Lovely here: http://www.thebritishblacklist.com/tbbdoestheatre-yasmin-reviews-selina-thompsons-dark-lovely-oval-theatre/

For the original report go to http://www.blacknet.co.uk/playwright-selina-thompson-tells-tbb-why-her-currently-touring-play-dark-and-lovely-is-a-multi-sensory-experience/


Cuba achieved food security without destroying its environment, and the rest of the world has taken notice, TeleSur reports.
Cuba is presenting several of its original biotechnologies at an international business fair this week, drawing further attention to a sector of the Cuban economy that’s been generating substantial interest abroad.

The Cuban Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology presented various biotechnological innovations at the fair: all eco-friendly and biodegrable alternatives to conventional technologies, which could help the transition toward a more sustainable model of agriculture.

Among them was, “Gavac,” an immunogen that provides for better control over ticks and tick-related infections in cattle, according to Doctor Hector Machado of Cuba’s Heber Biotec company.

Gavac’s formula reduces the use of chemical insecticides, noted Machado, while diminishing the risk of diseases being transmitted by ticks, improving an animal’s natural capacity to respond to an infection without increasing their resistance to treatment.

Gavac has already been commercialized in Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. Its awaiting approval for use in Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica.

Other biotechnological products included Acuabio’s range of nutritional complements used in aquaculture in order to boost the growth of larva and enhance their immune systems until they become adults, providing them better defenses against infections.

The HeberNem eco-friendly insecticide against roundworms, or nematodes, is also increasingly popular within Cuba, and will be presented in the fair this year.

The fair – one of the largest business events in the Caribbean – aims to attract investment in Cuba. This year, a few dozen U.S. firms are attending the fair, the first time U.S. companies have attended since the fair was launched 33 years ago.

Cuba has been attracting attention in recent years for its model of agriculture, as it has been able to develop cheap and eco-friendly technologies that have helped the country to reach a certain level of food security without damaging the environment. With the environmental and financial challenges the world is now facing, the Cuban model – built in a time of crisis, after the USSR collapsed – is seen as offering potential solutions to many countries in the world.

For the original report go to http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Cubas-Innovative-Biotechnology-Attracting-Global-Attention-20151103-0018.html

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 4, 2015

Two Jamaicans Shortlisted for Commonwealth Award

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YOUTH workers Miguel ‘Steppa’ Williams and Edward Dixon have been named national finalists of the Commonwealth Youth Worker Awards 2015.

They are among three youth work professionals so named from the Caribbean, and among 14 from the 53-member Commonwealth. The other finalists are from Australia, the Bahamas, Fiji, Ghana, Kenya, Malta and Nauru, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda.

They are ultimately vying to be named Commonwealth Youth Worker of the Year, which will be announced this week, November 2-8. The week is being observed as International Youth Work Week.

The Commonwealth Secretariat explained that the awards, now in its fourth year, celebrate outstanding youth workers from the 53 countries who have had a positive impact on young people.

Williams is the founder of Forward Step Foundation which uses music and other creative forms of engagement in prisons and among gangs to promote youth empowerment.

Similarly, Dixon focuses on violence prevention, youth development and social engagement through Youth Crime Watch of Jamaica, of which he is head.

Both men are graduates of the University of the West Indies, and previously worked as youth empowerment officers with the Government’s National Centre for Youth Development.

The theme for Youth Work Week 2015 is Youth Workers Creating Paths to Peace, which, the Commonwealth Secretariat said, “acknowledges the exceptional contribution of youth workers in peacebuilding and social cohesion”.

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj, who will present the award on November 5, stated: “The Commonwealth Youth Worker Awards recognise the achievements of youth workers, who often work in difficult circumstances, have very few resources and yet make a big difference to the lives of young people. Every youth worker named today should feel justifiably proud of their efforts, for they are national heroes.”

Regional awards for the Caribbean and the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Pacific will also be announced from among the national finalists on November 5.

“Youth Work Week puts the spotlight on youth workers whose contribution to society is often overlooked,” said Katherine Ellis, Youth Director at the secretariat.

“These dedicated professionals help to foster connections and a sense of belonging among young people, which helps to build peace and prevent conflict, crime and violence,” she added.

For the original report go to http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Two-J-cans-shortlisted-for-Commonwealth-award_19236744


Foreign scientists working in small island states need to create better collaborations with local researchers and marine management entities if coral reefs, fish, and other marine resources are to be saved from irreversible degradation, according to a new opinion paper published by researchers from the Caribbean, Canada, the USA, and UK–the Curaçao Chronicle reports.

In the opinion, published recently in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, the researchers urge research colleagues, policy-makers, managers, and international funding organizations to put aside personal agendas and engage in actionable, scalable research collaborations.

With most small island states being home to vast oceanic waters, monitoring and management are often supplemented by the activities of international groups. But, as the article states, this assistance is often mired by institutional bureaucracy, limited time frames, insufficient funding, and a lack of local knowledge on the part of foreign researchers.

The authors warn that even well-meaning foreign-led research can actually inhibit, rather than support the creation of the monitoring and management programs critical to ensuring protection of coral reefs and fisheries. They offer four focal areas for improving international scientific collaborations: aligning priorities, building long-term relationships, enhancing local capacity, and sharing research products, with actionable recommendations for each area.

“We wrote this paper to give actionable advice based on our collective expertise – our successes and our failures,” Edd Hind, the article’s lead author, said.

One failure the authors describe is that “local researchers can end up diverting their own valuable research time to foreign-instigated projects that might be intellectually exciting, but that do little to support local conservation efforts.”

The good news is that several international research collaborations are already teaching us lessons about how we can consistently produce the high quality science required to support the future health of the oceans in small island states.

They highlight collaboration in the Bahamas, where researchers from Canada and the USA have worked with Bahamian scientists and citizens to successfully record and respond to an invasion of predatory lionfish causing environmental chaos across Caribbean coral reefs.

“Collaborating simplified the process of conducting research because it allowed team members to draw on each other’s strengths,” says Nicola Smith, contributing author and former Experiment Coordinator for the MTIASIC Project.

“Through the work of our collaborators, we were able to conduct a field experiment at a scale that would never have been feasible by one group alone,” added Stephanie Green, who was based at Simon Fraser University during the project and is currently a Smith Fellow at Oregon State University.

The authors suggest “that when research priorities are aligned, long-term relationships are established, local capacity is enhanced, and research is well communicated, international collaborations are more likely to be successful, resulting in improved ocean conservation and marine resource management in small island states.”

For the original report go to http://curacaochronicle.com/region/foreign-scientists-need-to-collaborate-with-locals-more-to-save-caribbean-coral-reefs-researchers-say/


The Cuban government has green-lighted the island’s first major music festival, Tony Centeno of Vibe.com reports.

Cuban rapper Alaine Garcia Artola along with his friends Harry Follett and Jenner del Vecchio are set to make una revolución musical a dream come true with the inaugural MANANA Festival. The two-day event to be held in Santiago de Cuba would help preserve the traditional roots of Cuban music and support the local artists who work to keep it a living tradition.

The plan is to create an environment for a cultural and musical exchange, while exposing new and hopefully younger audiences to the music. As political relations between the United States and the Caribbean nation improve, young artists are fueling the fire for a musical revolution. The non-profit fest may incite political and social change, but will work hard to maintain Cuba’s traditional music, especially rumba.

If the trio make their goal on Kickstarter, MAMANA would be held next year on May 4-5, at the Heredia Complex along with numerous less formal spots around the city. Confirmed performers would include dubstep pioneer Mala, Puerto Rican electronic rumba outfit Grupo ÌFÉ, tropical DJs Sofrito, and master Cuban rumba group Obba Tuke. All international visitors are welcome and residents of Cuba will be offered a discount to ensure the festival is accessible for everyone.

To help bring the festival to life, donate here.

For the original report go to http://www.vibe.com/2015/11/cuba-first-folkloric-electronic-festival-make-history/

Art-Basel-Miami-Prizm-Art-Fair (1)

During Art Basel Miami 2015, Prizm invites you to enjoy their season of events to celebrate the presentation of works from the global African diaspora and emerging markets, from December 1 to 13, 2015.

The showcase includes works that explore themes that affect people of color globally including “the foreboding hand injustice, alternative and projected realities in cultural constructs grounded in African Diasporic intelligentsia and the ancestral chord that connects the broad expanse of the African Diaspora across various regions, including the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean.”

Prizm Art Fair will feature the works of contemporary artists including: Dr. Deborah Willis Ph.D., Amber Robles-Gordon, T. Eliott Mansa, Asser Saint-Val, Brianna McCarthy, Olalekan Jeyifous, Wesley Clark, Margo Sawyer, FAAR, Alexis Peskine, among others. [. . .]

Art Basel Miami 2015 Prizm Events

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

7 PM – 10 PM by invitation
Join Prizm to for an evening of cocktails with our exhibiting artists to mark the beginning Miami Art Week.

December 2nd – 13th 2015


Suggested Donation $15
10 AM – 5 PM

Saturday December 5th, 2015

Prizm Art Fair is open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm and welcomes visitors to attend Prizm Panels and Prizm’s Block Party from 12 Pm To 7pm
Suggested Donation $15
Venue: 7300 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL

Prizm is a cutting-edge art fair that is multidisciplinary in scope. Their goal is to expand the spectrum of exhibiting international artists from the global African diaspora and emerging markets.

Prizm Art Fair, in its third year, will be held in the Miami Modern District at 7300 Biscayne Blvd. The importance of Biscayne Boulevard cannot be overemphasized as it began and still remains a principal north/south artery thorough Miami. The buildings constructed along this wide corridor illustrate Miami’s changing fortunes; its changing demographics and the resultant change to the character of this principal thoroughfare.

This year Prizm has assembled a curatorial committee that includes Mikhaile Solomon, Rosie Gordon- Wallace and AM Weaver, to bring together an ensemble of diverse contemporary voices in visual arts practice.

For more information on panels and more, see http://sflcn.com/prizm-art-fair-showcases-works-from-the-global-african-diaspora-during-art-basel-miami/

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