In the spirit of Thanksgiving, thirty (30) Barbudans gathered at the Ebenezer Pilgrim Holiness Church in Bronx, New York on Saturday November 25, 2017 for a participatory community leadership dialogue, titled “Envisioning Barbuda 2030 and Beyond.” The intensive day long workshop, organized by the Barbuda Civic Association brought together Barbudans from across the United States of various age groups, political persuasions, professional backgrounds and interests to begin the process of creating a shared vision of preferred futures for Barbuda by 2030 and the potential role of the Diaspora in helping to shape the desired future.
The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Claire A. Nelson of Washington D.C. who was invited to lead and manage the participatory process. Nelson is the Founder and President of the Washington D.C. based Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS). She is also Ideation Leader of The Futures Forum, a research and education consulting practice specializing in bringing the power of strategic foresight, and the discipline of sustainability engineering to challenges facing organizations and communities. Nelson was named a White House Champion of Change in 2012.
The working sessions were designed to build trust and collaborative working relationships between community leaders and members of the Barbudan diaspora; to develop greater capacity for on-going dialogue among members of the Barbudan diaspora that enables collaboration in the midst of differences; and begin to plan for implementation, a dynamic new agenda that is congruent with the vision.
With the United Nations Sustainable Development agenda in focus, participants prepared an initial outline of a vision for Barbuda in the areas of Tourism, Education, Healthcare, Community Development and Economic Infrastructure. A draft report is expected to be shared with the public on or before the end of 2017. Other nationals across the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom will also have an opportunity to inform the draft document and form a coalition of Diaspora leaders to be named shortly. The organizers expect that a consolidated document will be presented to the members of the Barbuda Council and representatives of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda during the first quarter of 2018.
In her reflection of the day, President of Barbuda Civic Association, Diann Beazer, expressed that she was feeling very proud and hopeful that there are Barbudans across the Diaspora who are ready and willing to play an active role alongside the government and people at home in the rebuilding and development of Barbuda. Beazer further explained, “We intend to aggressively market our projects to the Antigua and Barbuda Diaspora and actively engage international organizations, agencies and institutions as we try to source the funds to make them a reality.”
The Barbuda Civic Association expresses its heartfelt thanks to 1199 SEIU, Cholo’s Bakery, Wadadli Styles Bakery and Restaurant, Success Catering and the catering team at Ebenezer Pilgrim Holiness Church for their contributions to a very productive day.