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PARAMARIBO–The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, on Thursay met with the Speaker of the National Assembly of Suriname, Jennifer Geerlings-Simons. The officials spoke about the modernization of Suriname´s Parliament and discussed the possibility of the OAS advising Suriname’s Legislative on cyber security.
Insulza was in Paramaribo to open the Seventh Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Education, held March 1-2, and met with the country’s highest authorities.
PARAMARIBO/WASHINGTON–Ministers of Education of the Americas will meet March 1-2 in Paramaribo, Suriname, in parallel events coordinated by the Organization of American States (OAS). The Meeting of the Ministers of Education will analyze the current status of the teaching profession in the region, and propose policies and strategies that strengthen the role of professional educators. And the first “Virtual Educa” held in the Caribbean will provide an environment for participants to exchange their experiences on how to apply the latest information and communication technologies to education.
A press release from the OAS says that the Seventh Meeting of the Ministers of Education, to be held at the Royal Torarica Hotel in the Surinamese capital, will be inaugurated on Thursday March 1st by Suriname President Desi Bouterse; the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza; and the Minister of Education and Community Development of Suriname, Raymond Sapoen.
The meeting is scheduled to conclude Friday, March 2, with the adoption of the “Declaration of Paramaribo: Transforming the role of teachers to meet the challenges of the XXI Century,” the final text of which will be agreed upon during the meeting. OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin will attend the final session. Following the session, there will be a press conference.
During the two-day meetings, the ministers will hold nine plenary sessions, seeking to determine what kind of teaching today’s student requires and what role governments play in ensuring quality education for all.
Furthermore, they will discuss educational institutions, proposing mechanisms to strengthen partnerships between institutions both within the educational system and other external sectors; analyze priorities for cooperation between countries; suggest concrete actions in the framework of the OAS to strengthen the role of teachers; review progress made in the previous ministerial mandates; establish the basis for the Work Plan 2012-2014 of the Commission on Education (CIE); and elect officials of the Executive Committee of the CIE for the next two years. Read more »
PARAMARIBO–The Ministry of Education is hosting a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) in early March and organizers are hoping that it will set the pace for much-needed innovations in education in the western hemisphere. “We’re not reaching our goals as educators because our education systems have not kept up with today’s technology. It is a problem that all of our countries face, which is why will look at it from a hemispheric perspective,” said Edith Tilon-Elizee, Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Education.
More than 40 Education officials from OAS nations are expected at the March 1-3 meeting that is also expected to draw officials from the Interamerican Development Bank, UNICEF and regional universities. The meeting will be themed “Transferring the Role of teachers in the 21st Century” and will look at educators in-service and in-training. “The host country sets the theme and at first we were considering a different theme that looked at the role of culture in education, but we chose to rather have a more theme that’s more current. And right now what’s pressing is that we look at the role of educators today,” she said.
She used a recent example in Suriname, which showed that the education system is not keeping up with the times. “A few years ago several students were sent home from school because they had written about their teacher on Facebook; you can’t send children home over those trivial matters. That shows that your education system is not in tune with the time you’re living in. That it’s time for a change,” she said.
In her opinion modern technologies should be filtered more into the classroom and teachers should have less of a dominant role and more of an interact one. “Children do not want to be listeners anymore, just accepting what is fed to them. They should be thought to think, their creativity should be given room to work,” said Tilon-Elizee. “How do we expect them to take part in the labor force successfully if we don’t teach them now to think and when we punish their skepticism?”
Tilon-Elizee said that it is obvious that it’s not just a Surinamese problem, because many countries in the Western Hemisphere are struggling with poor school results. “We have the same socio-economic backgrounds, share the same history and the same problems, so it is not necessary to try to find a solution individually. But maybe our cultures haven’t really grasped the notion of independent thinking enough yet, so we are doing the same things that we have been taught to do. It’s time for a change,” she said. “At this conference we will no longer talk about the problems, but rather about the strategies we should follow to bring the necessary developments, put the solutions in frameworks and prepare the decisions for Heads of Government to take at their next meeting.”
She explained that this conference should “feed” the OAS Heads of Government Conference which is scheduled later this year in Argentina. “There the final decisions will be taken,” she explained. She hoped as many Ministers from the region as possible will attend. “This is an issue that regards us all.”
WASHINGTON–Suriname’s new Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), Niermala Hindori-Badrisingh, on Tuesday presented to the Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, the credentials that accredit her to the hemispheric body.
Ambassador Hindori-Badrisingh recalled that the Government of Suriname “attaches paramount importance to the role of the OAS as an eminent multilateral forum for political dialogue and collective action in the Western Hemisphere.” She added that in her view “this body is ideally placed to strengthen regional cooperation among Member States in areas of mutual interest,” and she acknowledged the contribution of the OAS on issues such as democracy, human rights, peace, security and integral development in the region.
The diplomat said the region faces many challenges and called to “strive towards the goal of strengthening political stability, citizen security and prosperity.” The Ambassador also announced that the Government of President Bouterse has decided to establish a representation to the OAS different from that to the U.S. Embassy, in order to contribute to a “more efficient and effective OAS.”
PARAMARIBO–The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin is urging policymakers and leaders in the Caribbean to invest in more substantial renewable energy options, in the interest of energy security.
Speaking at a regional conference in his native Suriname on “Research, Development and Capacity Building to Support Renewable Energy Development in the Caribbean,” Ambassador Ramdin stressed the importance of implementing sustainable energy policies. “Given the heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels, the region must strive harder to develop and expand initiatives which can result in its own competitively priced, reliable, safe, and affordable energy sources,” said Ramdin.
Pointing to the potential for the development of geothermal, biomass, solar, and wind sources of energy, Assistant Secretary General Ramdin said much of the hemisphere’s potential for renewable energy remains untapped. “Realizing the potential of renewable energy in the Caribbean region requires investment, commitment, partnerships and political will. It also means being prepared to make difficult choices; sometimes choosing between political expediency and the long-term good,” added Ramdin.
Assistant Secretary General Ramdin, who days earlier addressed the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum in Barbados, also believes that emphasis must be placed on education to facilitate the further development of renewable energy. “Our challenge has been facilitating a realistic transition to sustainable energy. We now have a critical responsibility to intensify our collective efforts, by improving education, expanding technology and raising awareness on this issue,” he said.
WASHINGTON–The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin, has pledged the Organization’s support for climate compatible development in Suriname.
Ambassador Ramdin said an OAS mission would soon travel to Suriname to conduct a baseline study to guide future interventions in risk management, sustainable energy, water resources management, environmental law, policy, and governance, among other critical areas identified by the Suriname delegation.
This pledge followed a meeting this week at OAS Headquarters in Washington, DC , between Ramdin and John Goedschalk, the Executive Director of Suriname’s newly established Climate Compatible Development Agency. Also present at the meeting was the Surinamese Ambassador to the OAS, Subhas Ch. Mungra; Deputy Chief of Mission Michiel Raafenberg; and Director of the OAS Department of Sustainable Development Cletus Springer.
Discussions focused on the vision and strategies being contemplated by the Government of Suriname towards the achievement of climate compatible development. During the meeting, Ambassador Ramdin commended the decision of the Government of Suriname to create a Climate Compatible Development Agency dedicated to the coordination of national level actions to build Suriname ’s resilience to a changing climate.
PARAMARIBO–Ambassador Albert Ramdin, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), sees a direct link between the illegal trade of drugs and small firearms, and crimes of violence, sex crimes, domestic violence, child abuse, corruption and other problems. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 49th regular session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) at Royal Torarica Resort in Paramaribo, the high ranking OAS official said that “all of these have had a direct impact on national security agendas in the hemisphere and a direct economic impact on smaller and vulnerable economies like those of the Caribbean and Central America.”
High-level delegates from across the Americas are gathered in Suriname this week to discuss a Hemispheric Plan of Action to deal with the scourge of drugs and drug-related crimes in the Hemisphere. The forty-ninth regular session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) will consider among other issues the “smokeable cocaine” phenomenon in the Southern Cone, and drug consumption among adolescents in conflict with the law.
An OAS press release said that OAS ASG Ramdin believes that success in the fight against drugs and drug-related crimes calls for a coordinated, multilateral approach to the application of resources, and a willingness to support neighbors who do not have the means to effectively counteract the threat posed by international organized crime and drug trafficking. “Our response to crime and violence needs to be long-term, strategic, and include actions that will address underlying causes. Our priority should be to invest more in education, training, opportunities and job creation. We must intensify our efforts to reduce consumption and demand,” stressed the Assistant Secretary General.
The Suriname-born diplomat concluded by saying that change can only come through “political will.” The OAS General Assembly that begins in El Salvador on June 5 this year has as its theme, “Citizen Security in the Americas.”
By Pieter Van Maele
PARAMARIBO – Artists from Suriname, French Guiana and Guyana will take part in the Inter-Guiana Cultural Festival, which will be held from August 25 to 29 at different locations in Paramaribo. The cultural festival commemorates the Year of Culture, an initiative of the Organization of American States (OAS). “Mainly, we aim to host a very accessible festival, completely free of charge. We are not interested in elitism at all,” explains Lucien Dubois of the Directorate of Culture, who coordinates the festival.
The Directorate hopes to welcome at least 40 artists from the three Guyana’s and has already selected four locations for the festival, namely Fort Zeelandia, the Palm Garden, the Conference Hall and Theater Thalia.”We have invited artists who excel in six disciplines: Visual arts, performing arts, fashion, culinary arts, and literary arts and crafts,” says Dubois. A full list of participants is not available yet. “We will announce the final program on June 15,” he says.
The festival is financed by Government of Suriname, the initiator of the event. “We did not have any trouble at all to persuade Guyana and French Guyana to take part as well; everyone immediately responded very enthusiastic,” recalls Dubois. The Directorate will still approach the Organization of American States (OAS) to finance a small part of the festival.
Dubois says personally he especially looks forward to Sunday, August 28. “That day the Palm Garden will be the setting of a spectacular cook-out. It will be very people-oriented; all participants will cook local specialties from their home-countries. Of course, the audience will have the change to taste a lot of these dishes,” he says, enthused.
Year of Culture
Suriname launches the 2011 OAS Year of Culture on May 13 with an evening of performing arts and music in the Conference Hall at Independence Square in Paramaribo. The cultural events will serve as a test-case for Suriname’s hosting of the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) in 2013. During Carifiesta, Suriname welcomes participants from all fifteen member-states of the Caribbean Community (Caricom)
WASHINGTON DC–The new Permanent Representative of Suriname to the Organization of American States (OAS), Subhas Chandra Mungra, presented his credentials to Secretary General José Miguel Insulza on Tuesday.
The ceremony in Washington, DC was also attended by the Assistant Secretary General, Albert R. Ramdin, and the Chair of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of the United States to the Organization, Carmen Lomellin.
According to an OAS press release, Insulza told Ambassador Mungra : “Cooperation between our organization and the government of your country has been very strong in recent years. I am happy because I think that your country is very willing to take important responsibilities in the development of our programs of action.” The head of the OAS highlighted that the Surinamese government has offered to host the hemispheric organization’s conference on education.
Ambassador Mungra was sworn in as Suriname’s envoy to the US on Friday January 7th; He is stationed in Washington DC. He has a distinguished career of service in his country’s government. He has been Minister of Finance, Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Manager of the National Development Bank of Suriname, Minister of Foreign Relations, and Ambassador of Suriname to the United Nations. In the academic world, at the University of Suriname, he has been lecturer on Public Economics and the Economics of Development, and coordinator of Master’s courses on Applied Macroeconomics, Finance and Policy.
During the ceremony, the Surinamese representative asserted that his country’s government continues to share the ideals, objectives and commitments of the OAS in the areas of democracy, human rights, security, education, peace and sustainable development, among others. “My government is committed to contribute to the efforts of the OAS to continue to make progress in the aforementioned areas, which are critical to the needs and aspirations of our peoples,” he was quoted in the OAS release.
“I am honored and privileged to serve my country in this Organization, which is the eldest regional organization and an important hemispheric forum. I will do my best to contribute to further strengthening and deepening cooperation with Member States of the OAS to further enhance the lofty goals and principles of the Organization,” he concluded.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin, has extended his condolences to the families of seven gold miners who were killed on Saturday evening in Suriname. The victims, all Surinamese nationals between the ages of 18 and 50, were killed when the walls of a shaft suddenly collapsed in a mine, in an area known as “Gowtu Bergi” or Gold Mountain. Surinamese authorities are trying to determine if more people are buried beneath the sand.
Government and mining officials have acknowledged that the victims were all self-employed, and were not operating under official regulations at the time of the accident. Secretary General Albert Ramdin, who hails from Suriname, has described the incident as tragic, and called for the enforcement of laws regulating mining operations. “We mourn for the loss of these sons of Suriname. It was a tragic accident that demonstrates the need for us to follow safety regulations, and the law itself. If we are to prevent incidents like this, we must enforce laws that are in place,” Ramdin said. Suriname has since declared three days of national mourning.