Letters to the Editor

Strengthening cooperation between Chile and Jamaica

Monday, December 02, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. In fact, more than 400 million people have Spanish as their native language. This fact has aroused the interest of many and today more than 20 million people study it.

In Jamaica, both Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith have publicly stated the importance of establishing the teaching of Spanish as a priority as this would allow the country to open up to new spaces within Latin America and the Caribbean.

That is why Chile accepted the challenge and desired to support Jamaica in this effort. So that, for the second-consecutive year through a cooperation programme between the International Cooperation Agency of Chile (AGCID) and Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso (PUCV), we are offering free Spanish courses in Jamaica to public and private sector officials and university students. After a successful pilot programme in 2018 of only eight weeks, this year classes were offered at The University of West Indies, University of the Commonwealth Caribbean, and Jamaica Defence Force for a period of three months, allowing more than 150 people to benefit. On November 29 courses ended with graduation ceremonies at the three mentioned venues, and students who successfully completed the programme received certificates. This has been an important step for both countries, as it has allowed us to get closer culturally and strengthen our relations.

Likewise, and within a broader scope, Chile has advanced in different projects and cooperation programmes within Caricom, which are based in areas of social development, agriculture and food security, and capacity-building in areas such as disaster prevention and management and institutional strengthening. Among the main projects we can mention is the diplomas in Teaching Methodology of Spanish as a Second Language for Teachers of Spanish in the English-speaking Caribbean, seminars on disaster risk prevention, technical cooperation around coastal environmental management, scholarships for master's degree's programmes, among many others.

It is in this sense that the Government of Chile wishes to continue working with Jamaica and its people in the development of capacities and bringing our cultures closer together, hoping to offer new courses in the coming years and to benefit more people.

Francisco J Bernales
Ambassador of Chile to Jamaica


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