A warm welcome to all of you who have come from every corner of the African Diaspora to join with us as we convene this 8th African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference. A special welcome to our regional and international presenters who have recognised the importance of continuing this African journey and have travelled to Barbados for this important event.
Barbados is proud to host this Conference which allows us to take a deeper look at ourselves: to ‘uncover, recover and discover’. For us in Barbados, it is a welcome continuation of the efforts in the cultural heritage realm, which led to our inscription in June 2011 as a World Heritage Site, through representations made to UNESCO in respect of Historic Bridgetown and Its Garrison.
For many of you, the convening of this conference is certainly a unique chance to observe the African experience through Caribbean eyes and truly bring together the pieces of the puzzle, thus uniting the diaspora as one. We promise you an unforgettable experience.
The presentations chosen for this 8th Conference will be delivered by an eminent team of local, regional and international luminaries, whose research and experience speak to a diaspora that has learnt from its historical meanderings.
I expect that you will take away from this Conference much food for thought and I look forward to your deliberations over the next few days. An important aspect of this Conference is the Heritage Speed Dating concept which will give you the chance to meet face to face with persons with shared interests and to establish new networks. I hope that you will take full advantage of this opportunity.
May I remind you that Barbados is a small island with a big heart. We open our hearts to you and urge you to enjoy our Barbadian hospitality; our many places of historical and other interest; our natural heritage and, of course, sample our delicious African-inspired cuisine. We look forward eagerly to your return to Barbados.
Richard Sealy M.P.
Minister of Tourism