Talks about investment were high on the agenda, when the University of Guyana [UG] spearheaded Diaspora Engagement Conference commenced yesterday at the Ramada Princess Hotel at Providence, East Bank Demerara.
Although the Conference is one that will continue until Friday, one of its primary aims might have been fulfilled yesterday during two ministerial roundtables. The roundtables, which were slated to be attended by several Government Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, and both local and overseas business personalities, were designed to encourage discussions about what it means to invest in Guyana, complete with the existing challenges and opportunities.
Speaking at the forum yesterday, UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith said, “I wouldn’t expect to see people coming and say I have $10million to give, but I expect to see what some of the ideas are, or how these ideas might bring in the millions.”
He continued, “Some of the investments I am looking for are not only financial. We have got a lot of talent from people who can open doors for the university, so I am looking for social investment as well as financial investment for the university and the nation as a whole.”
It was therefore expected that the roundtables, with input from various important constituencies such as academics, policymakers, and business persons, will serve to help advance the developmental agenda for the university as well as for the nation.
The investment opportunity talks will be further ventilated at a business dinner tomorrow night, which will have the Guyana Office for Investment [GO-Invest] as the main sponsor.
“That dinner will not only have Guyanese at home, for example Mr. Chet Bowling, a businessman who operates between Russia and Guyana, but many others will be talking about investment opportunities,” Professor Griffith noted.
But even before the dinner, Vice Chancellor Griffith said further support for UG will be highlighted at a meeting tomorrow morning at the Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara campus between a senior university team, including himself, and the University of Guyana Ambassadors. The ambassadors in question were appointed by Professor Griffith soon after his appointment last year as Vice Chancellor.
“I appointed a number of University of Guyana Ambassadors, some from within Guyana and some from different parts of the world….At the first meeting [last June] I promised them that we will come back a year after to reflect on what has changed at the university and how they might help to advance rebuilding the renaissance going forward,” said Professor Griffith.
The opening of the conference yesterday, which was chaired by UG’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Dr. Fitzgerald Yaw, was kicked into motion with remarks from Professor Griffith and a keynote address by President David Granger.
However, the opening ceremony was not short of cultural presentations which came in the form of musical renditions by Artiste-in-residence, Keith Waithe, and the Renaissance performers.
Among the countries that are being represented at the Conference are Mexico, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, Canada, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, Nigeria, Ghana, and several states from within the United States. Some 240 individuals up to yesterday were registered to attend the forum, but, according to Professor Griffith, that number is expected to more than double for the final day of the Conference, which will entail an investiture ceremony to officially induct him as the 10th Vice Chancellor and a Cultural extravagance which will bring the curtains down on the near week-long affair.
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