Successful applicants must be: between the ages of 18 and 25 years; second or third generation Jamaican; pursuing either an undergraduate or post-graduate degree; and have a Grade ‘B’ average or higher. Additionally, they must have not lived in within the country for more than six months, and are really eager to learn more about their Jamaican heritage.
The Birthright Programme exposes students to a diversified experience through cultural immersion activities and paid internship at a GraceKennedy operation in Jamaica. “The 2017 Programme was a huge success with the interns having a remarkable and fulfilling experience,” said Executive Director of the GraceKennedy Foundation, Caroline Mahfood, who directs the Programme.
“With the help of our partners such as Caribbean Airlines, Island Car Rentals and the Jamaica Tourist Board, the interns received the opportunity of a lifetime to experience the business’ undertakings as well as Jamaica’s dynamic cultural traditions, from our food to music, sports and more. They really got the chance to make a personal connection with the country from the minute they boarded the flight,” Mrs Mahfood said.
The 2017 Jamaican Birthright interns were Menelik Graham, a sophomore at Princeton University (USA); Matthew Robinson, a senior at Georgetown University (USA); Tianna Thomas, a senior at Brock University (Canada); and Cleveland Douglas, a junior at Imperial College in the UK.
They each expressed their appreciation for having had the opportunity. According to Ms Thomas, “The whole experience for me was life-changing and has given me a greater appreciation of self which is attributed to learning about myself as a Jamaican.”
The GraceKennedy Foundation is ensuring that more students will be able to have this amazing opportunity. Four persons – two from the United States of America, one from the United Kingdom and one from Canada - will be chosen to participate in the 2018 Jamaican Birthright Programme to run from July 1 through to August 8, 2018.