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UWI students excel at Texas leadership contest

Thursday, January 30, 2014    

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TWO members of the University of the West Indies' (UWI) Department of Government High Achievers' Society (HAS) placed in the top five of the 26th annual Charles E Williams II Advanced Leadership Oratorical Contest at the Southern Black Student Leadership Conference in Houston, Texas earlier this month.

The two are Renee Osbourne and Cleopatra Parkins.

The conference, which was themed 'Leaders over Limits', focused on developing the youth leaders skill sets and characteristics, to aid in motivating them to achieve goals and objectives despite societal and personal limitations.

The oratorical contest is aimed at challenging and stimulating the minds of participants, and providing them an opportunity to display their talents of speaking and interpreting their ideas on a specific subject. The competition was open to more than 600 students from over 50 universities across the United States. The Jamaican students were successfully placed in the top five, with Parkins placing second in the competition.

Their success has been welcomed by the Department of Government, given the new vision and focus of the head of the department, Dr Lloyd Waller, who has paid significant attention to youth development and mainstreaming. This has led to various new initiatives and a greater focus on advocacy for youth-led participatory programmes placing youth at the centre of the development process.

The department has also placed youths as the drivers of development and good governance. Its upcoming Research Day will feature a youth-led initiative, spearheaded by the HAS. The focus of HAS is that of Vision 2030's Youth Perspective. The forum will consist of individuals with a vested interest in youth and youth development, as well as young leaders of the nation.

The Good Governance Society, under the theme 'You think it, We do it', will be participating in civic tours across Jamaican high schools, with the aim of educating students about various tenets of good governance, such as accountability, transparency, participation, the rule of law, the equity and inclusiveness, as well as how the Jamaican youth can play their role in preserving these ideals for the good of the nation.

The students were accompanied to the Texas contest by facilitator Shinique Walters. The Office of the Principal assisted in sponsoring the students to attend the conference.

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