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Late Vin Martin awarded Global Citizen Diplomat

BY DERRICK SCOTT

Monday, March 16, 2015    

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WASHINGTON DC, USA -- The late former honorary consul of Jamaica to Atlanta, Georgia, Vin Martin, was on Tuesday conferred with a major international recognition.

He received the Global Citizen Diplomat Award, one of the highest honours given by Sister Cities International, of which he was a member, having served as chairman of the Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister Cities committee as well as chairman of the Atlanta-Montego Bay Health Mission.

The distinction was bestowed during the Sister Cities International 2015 Diplomatic Gala in the Hall of Flags, US Chamber of Commerce, in downtown Washington, DC.

Founded by President Dwight D Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International is the premier citizen diplomacy network that creates and strengthens partnerships between US and international communities, promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.


Martin's widow Hazel and sons Corey and Kieron accepted the crystal plaque, presented on behalf of Sister Cities International by Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Jamaica Marsha Coore-Lobban. Over 400 guests, including more than 30 ambassadors along with members of the US Congress and other top officials and personalities, were on hand for the gala affair.

Also honoured along with Martin were US Senator Richard Lugar and former US Senator James P Moran (Congressional Diplomatic Leadership Award); while the Diplomatic Leadership Award went to former US Ambassador to Estonia, Aldona Wos. Professional soccer club DC United got the Corporate Diplomacy Award and the Excellence in Diplomacy Award went to the Maryland Army National Guard.

In presenting Martin's award, Coore-Lobban praised the late consul's central role as the driving force behind the Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister Cities Health Mission for 21 years.

"The Mission stands as a legacy to his sterling leadership, selflessness and devotion to both his country and Atlanta, his adopted home," she stated.

She said that during his 21 years leading the Health Mission, that programme had taken doctors and allied health care professionals to Montego Bay, delivering medical supplies and treatment valued at over $2 billion, benefitting over 60,000 patients in Montego Bay and surrounding communities. That service, free of cost to thousands of underserved people, is a testimony to the tangible, positive difference Martin's action and vision had made in the lives of the people of Montego Bay, said the Jamaican diplomat.

She added that Martin had served his country, Jamaica, with distinction and carried out his diplomatic duties with exemplary commitment and remarked how his passing last July had dealt a severe blow to the country and to the community in Atlanta. She recalled as well that Martin's invaluable contribution to the Jamaican diaspora had earned him the Order of Distinction from the Jamaican Government in October 2013, as well as the Prime Minister's Medal of Appreciation and the Governor General's Achievement Award.

Expressing the family's appreciation as he accepted the award on behalf of his late father, Corey Martin said that his father's commitment to both his country and community knew no bounds. He was committed to giving back to the land of his birth and to helping the Jamaican community to succeed. Although his father had passed away in July 2014, "his influence and memory march powerfully onwards".

Mary D Kane, president and CEO of Sister Cities International, commented that Sister cities was very pleased and honoured it was able to recognise this outstanding Jamaican who had selflessly contributed to the work of Sister Cities to serve humanity, especially through the flagship programme -- the annual Health Mission to Montego Bay-- which has contributed greatly to improving health services in Jamaica's tourism capital and its environs. She said Sister Cities was proud to have had Vin Martin leading the chapter in Atlanta and that under his leadership the organisation grew and lived true to its creed and mission: "Peace through people".

Martin's successor at the helm of the Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister Cities Dr Yvonne Smith was among the many guests at the 2015 Diplomatic Gala.

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