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The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) will on December 14 and 15, 2020 host the first National Conversation on improving ethnic relations in Guyana.
In a statement Thursday, the ERC said that the main sessions of the virtual event will run from 9:00hrs to 13:00hrs each day. A youth forum, representing the largest bloc of the population, will run from 18:00 to 20:30hrs on the first day. Animated exchanges are expected during that segment.
The ERC, in collaboration with the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator and the University of Guyana (UG) is hosting the first episode which will also be broadcast on television during the opening day.
Chairman of The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), General Bishop, Reverend Dr. John O. Smith has issued an appeal to Guyanese at home and in the diaspora to participate in the forum.
Reverend Smith believes that the original event will set the tone for more planned conversations in the future to examine the barriers to ethnic harmony in multi-ethnic Guyana.
“Moreover, Guyanese lawmakers and stakeholders will receive reviews and reports to galvanise action as the conversations continue,” the ERC said in its statement while noting that a second “National Conversation” is expected in January and more during 2021.
“Guyanese presenters, residing here and abroad and reflecting diversity will be a main component of the conversation. Guyanese following the event are invited to ask questions or give suggestions to address their burning concerns after each presentation. The conversation will be launched with a general discussion on “How can we improve ethnic relations in Guyana?”. Guyanese who are unable to join the conversation can inbox the ERC on FaceBook, Instagram and Linkedin with their suggestions on the topic before Monday, December 14,” the statement said.
President Irfaan Ali and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon have been invited to give keynote addresses. UN Resident Coordinator, Mikiko Tanaka and UG Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Paloma Mohamed-Martin will also give brief remarks at the forum.
ERC said it hopes that the varying points of view of presenters and participants, can serve in some measure, as a blueprint for possible solutions.
A cultural presentation, showcasing Guyana’s different cultures will conclude the two-day conversation.