KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Since the appointment last April of Therese Turner-Jones as general manager of the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Caribbean country department, there has been increased academic and social engagement with the youth across the region, most notably at the university level.
Turner-Jones is responsible for managing the IDB’s portfolio in six countries in the Caribbean (Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, The Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago). Since taking office, she has made a commitment towards empowering and motivating youth through a series of academic lectures, town hall meetings and personal development talks.
In Jamaica, Turner-Jones has delivered several lectures to students and teachers at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Geography Department as well as to first year students at UWI’s School of International Relations. Her lectures have been focused on research and emerging trends in the region, creating vibrant economies, managing climate change, understanding international developments, and evaluating changes in gender and diversity matters.
Turner-Jones also provided personal development advice to sixth-form students from Wolmer’s Girls School, who are preparing for university admission within the next year. She emphasized to them the importance of setting goals, maintaining a good attitude, learning a second and third language, and the need to establish their own bank accounts.
In Barbados, Turner-Jones participated in a town hall meeting on November 21 with more than 300 students from the Barbados Community College and the Cave Hill campus of the UWI, to outline how the IDB is working to tackle the issues associated with the future of work and employment for youth in the Caribbean. The UWI and Barbados Community College students engaged in a robust discussion with Turner-Jones on the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, labour market issues, and crime trends.
IDB’s Turner-Jones set forth her rationale for these university outreach events: “I think it is very important to engage the youth; to hear their perspective on how we can move forward as a region, as well as to provide the right information across various issues and topics so that they can be equipped to make the best decisions about their careers and their personal lives, which can in turn result in the creation of vibrant economies. This is part of how the IDB is working to advance our vision to improve lives throughout the Caribbean.”
“These engagements are also in keeping with the IDB’s ethos to share and generate knowledge,” Turner-Jones added.
In The Bahamas, Turner-Jones also recently delivered the prestigious 31st Annual Adlith Brown Memorial Lecture which focused on the theme “Imagining Vibrant Economies.” Her lecture, which was delivered on the occasion of the 48th Annual Monetary Studies Conference, highlighted how economics can serve as the conduit for improving lives in the Caribbean region.
Notably, Turner-Jones pointed to the need for safety and security as a necessary step in moving the region forward from stagnation and towards prosperity and growth. She also commented on the importance of gender as a key element among the considerations for building vibrant economies.
“For the first time, we learned that women-run businesses in the Caribbean can do better than male-run enterprises. However, the incidence and tolerance of violence against women surely does not support this trend,” Turner-Jones said.