KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade launched its 55th anniversary celebrations with the opening of an exhibition highlighting the entity's achievements since 1962.
Portfolio Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, and Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry's Bilateral Relations Department, Dayton Thomas, cut the ribbon to officially launch the two-week exhibit at the Ministry's Dominica Drive offices yesterday.
It features publications, photographs, and videos showcasing Jamaica's diplomatic relations with the international community over 55 years.
Visitors will be able to tour the various departments and learn about their work, the role of the overseas missions, and about the bilateral partners.
Members of the public are invited to view the display from today to Friday, September 15, between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm on weekdays.
In addition to the exhibit, two publications were also launched, titled 'The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica: A Historical Perspective 1962-2017' and 'Policy Statements of Jamaica at the United Nations 1997-2016'.
Johnson Smith said the publications provide “an invaluable source of information for all students and analysts of foreign policy as well as for the general public”.
She explained that the anniversary activities, under the theme 'The Jamaican Foreign Service at 55: Saluting a Legacy of Distinction', are intended to explain the role of the foreign affairs ministry.
She noted that members of the public do not always understand the work of the ministry and “do not always appreciate its contribution to the achievement of national goals”.
Johnson Smith said the exhibition will highlight the ministry's achievements and celebrate its partnerships with the international community through the diplomatic and consular corps and representatives of international organisations, ministries, departments and agencies, private sector and non-governmental organisations.
“All of you are our partners. All of you are part of our network and our success is a reflection of the dividend reaped through fruitful engagements with you,” she added.
In its 55 years of existence, the ministry has been led by 15 Ministers, nine Ministers of State, four Parliamentary Secretaries and 16 Permanent Secretaries.
Johnson Smith is Jamaica's first female minister of foreign affairs, and was appointed to office in March 2016.
The ministry had its beginnings in 1961 with the establishment of the Department of External Affairs in the Office of the Premier.
The foreign ministry was one of the three Departments of Government deemed essential for independent Jamaica.