A former SEARCHLIGHT reporter, is trying to promote Caribbean culture through events with hopes of popularizing the culture even more in Asia.
Ari Shaw, who is now a journalism student, will host his “Culture Üma Festival” on April 17.
The event, which will be organised in collaboration with a Taiwanese NGO called Taiwan Digital Diplomacy Association (TDDA), is set to highlight Caribbean and Latin American culture , through the performance arts, and promote Caribbean and Latin entrepreneurs in Taiwan.
Shaw, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT, praised Chiayo Kuo (郭家佑) and her team at Taiwan Digital Diplomacy Association (TDDA), for assisting to realise his vision.
TDDA is a young, vibrant non-profit, non-governmental organization, comprising almost 20 members with an educational background in the social sciences, and 60 volunteers from diverse fields -all interested in international affairs.
Over the past three years, it has steadily gained attention from both foreign diplomatic missions in Taiwan and foreign governments.
During the interview, Shaw also identified Belizean Kendra Griffith as an instrumental member of his event planning group ‘Flvcko Events’.
Griffith is a history major and former coordinator at the Institute for Social and Cultural Research (ISCR) – NICH in Belize, whose experience assisted in highlighting tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the Caribbean and Latin American countries involved.
Shaw, said the festival was first scheduled for March 14 (National Heroes Day), however, it comes at an opportune time since this year, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Taiwan are celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations.
Shaw, who is the main planner and coordinator of the upcoming festival, also noted that the Association of Caribbean States celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
“Since I’ve been in Taiwan, Caribbean culture has never been promoted and celebrated by the Taiwanese public, now is the time for Taiwan to become aware of the rich Caribbean culture present in their midst”, Shaw said.
The event has been fully endorsed by the SVG embassy in Taipei, and with their assistance gained the support of five of the nine Caribbean and Latin American embassies in Taiwan.
“To the rest of the world, Caribbean/West Indian countries have a single cultural unification. This is because of similarities in historical and cultural development as a result of European colonisation,” Shaw said.
“The same can be said about Latin American countries because of the Spanish influence, through colonisation.”
Taiwan’s Latin American diplomatic allies have a joint history with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines through the Garinagu people, who after being exiled from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, made their homes on coasts Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala.
Shaw said, “these countries therefore have a natural bond through the Garinagu.
The name of the festival “is intended to translate as a pathway to culture as we educate the Taiwanese population of our rich culture, which includes the Garinagu people,” Shaw said.
The journalism major added that both Caribbean and Latin American cultures are beautifully blended with European, African and indigenous cultures to form independent, yet fluid cultural identities.
The April 17 event is expected to feature performance through song, dance and poetry.