On October 1st, 2019, The University of the Southern Caribbean hosted a Language and Communication Day, under the auspices of the School of Education and Humanities. The day was envisioned as a multifaceted day, dedicated to promoting the role and significance of languages and communication in today’s world to our faculty, staff and student body; as well as to secondary school teachers and students from invited schools. One of the goals of the Language Day was also to expose participants to the many benefits of speaking a foreign language, as well as to some aspects of culture and cuisine of non- English speaking countries in our region.
As such, we were privileged to see attendance by representatives from seven Embassies: including Ambassadors, Embassy secretaries, and Charges d’Affaires. The countries represented were Brazil, Chile, Colombia, The Dominican Republic, Cuba, Panama, and France. The Opening Ceremony and Plenary Session provided an enlightening experience for the close to three hundred students from seven secondary schools who were present, as they were exposed to the national anthems of the seven countries; as well as greetings and speeches from the diplomats. Many of the addresses highlighted the importance of learning foreign languages: particularly Spanish.
Several of the esteemed Administrators of the University were in attendance at the Opening Ceremony and Plenary Session: in the persons of Dr. Hilary Bowman, University President; Dr. Leon Wilson, University Provost; Dr. Loverne Jacobs-Browne, Dean of the School of Education and Humanities; and Mrs. Rachel Sealy, University Chaplain.
During the second plenary session which focused on languages in Caribbean communities, guests and students were addressed by two of USC’s lecturers: Dr. Fiona Ann Rajkumar, and Dr. Terencia Joseph. They highlighted the role of language in identity among the twentieth century Chinese community in Trinidad, and the attitude of governmental authorities towards the Kweyol language in St. Lucia from the late nineteenth into the twentieth century.
Several of the Embassies invited also displayed and promoted aspects of their respective countries in our Embassy Pavilion. During the lunch break, the secondary school students were able to visit the various country booths, partake of the Latin and French Caribbean food items on sale, as well as participate in games that allowed them to experience the fun-filled aspects of learning a foreign language.
During the second part of the day; and as part of the multifaceted experience, the cultural programme saw the participation of students from the University, who are learning Spanish and French; as well as students from Spanish, French and Portuguese speaking countries, who are learning English as a Second Language at The University of the Southern Caribbean.