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Okama is a conscious heartist, an International development expert, policy adviser, scholar, activist, entrepreneur, model, dancer, philanthropist, and author. She is the founder and president of the Africa Caribbean Heritage Alliance, ACHA, an international NGO based in Africa (Nigeria), Caribbean (Sint Maarten) and North America (Canada). She is a wife, mother of three beautiful children and speaker. She is a Nigerian/Canadian and available for consulting opportunities.
She is a scholar with an MA in Development Studies and Public Policy, and currently a Research Assistant at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She is also a member of the Caribbean Studies Association, and an Online Education Consultant for the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean & AsombrosoX.
Okama began her international development career in the 1996 working at the Alberta Research Station, Lacombe, Canada as a research assistant before landing development jobs in Thailand as gender adviser, in Lao PDR as CUSO Co-Operant Coordinator, in Sri Lanka as UNV Program Officer, in Curacao as UNDP Liaison Officer and Government Senior Economic Adviser and in Sint Maarten as Government Senior Policy Adviser on National Development planning and Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performing Arts as Innovation & Communication Coordinator. In Nigeria, she was the Country Director for the ACHA/VOICE Innovation and Reconnection; and Now US Awards projects, both Oxfam in Nigeria and Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs supported initiatives. She volunteers as the Vice President/Global Liaison, VOME Magazine, a USA based magazine helping to transform Africa’s economy through connections and public private partnerships between Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean through features, tourism and SDG initiatives.
She has traveled and has lived experiences in over 50 countries, having worked with the United Nations, International NGOs and governments in Asia, the Caribbean, North America and Africa. She authored several development publications including the CSA Annual Report 2016, Curacao and Sint Maarten MDG Report in 2011, and Measuring Volunteerism in Lao PDR in 2001, etc. She has certifications as a leadership, governance and life coach, project management trainer & mentor, dance fitness coach, change management and humanitarian coach.
Okama is a sports enthusiast who played college soccer at Red Deer college, touch rugby, volleyball and swimming in Canada. She coached boys and girls soccer teams and was the technical coordinator of a youth soccer club in the Caribbean and currently manages the FOG U.15 Boys Volleyball Club in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Okama believes in equitable development and the enhancement of the full human potential and continues to give back professionally, academically and passionately and using as a baseline the deep-rooted questions surrounding the preservation and protection of the African cultural heritage and by defacto, the historical linkages and reconnections of people of African Descent, she is passionate about ACHA’s role in strengthening economic development and image of Africa and Peoples of African Descent.
She is an Entrepreneur, and an Independent Contractor of Max International, the Glutathione company Ltd USA; Combined Insurance, a Chubb company of Canada/USA and a Vision Partner of Lifestyle Asset Hub, Nigerian/Pan African real estate and wealth creation company.
Okama is a Rotarian and was the past president of Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise, and past co-chair of the Caribbean Studies Association. She is a dancer, performer and transmits love and understanding through her passion for creativity. As a world changer, she believes in the power of harnessing people’s emotional Intelligence in the pursuit for leadership and institutional strengthening.
Her breakthrough in the modeling industry came in 2019 while in Nigeria. She partnered with HopeZ Modeling Academy to implement the Africa Fashion for Peace.
Okama is known for her modeling appearances in the agency’s several events and as brand ambassador/global face for several companies. She has been featured in several magazines I.e Vome edition 2021, HopeZ Magazine 2020, Voice Global magazine, CSA publication, etc.
She had dancing roles in Sri Lanka, Curacao, Canada, Sint Maarten and Nigeria and compere roles in Abuja, Nigeria at the Abuja Fashion Night (2019), Africa Fashion for Peace (2019 & 2020), Sri Lanka (2016-2017) and Sri Lanka (2008-2009) and several speaking, trainings, mentoring and coaching roles.
In 1997, Okama started activism for gender integration into development work as a gender analyst at an NGO in Thailand leading to a long career in gender activism for which she has received the Gender Champs and Cultural Ambassador award and currently links into the work of PACE/WAGE project at the Arts, Women and Gender Equality Department, University of Alberta to address intimate partner violence amongst the African community in Canada working with Prof. Philomina Okeke-Ijiherika as a research coordinator.
She is poised to continue to contribute towards developmental change globally through reawakening deeper cultural understanding for empowering youth and women and general development of Black people around the world.
I was born in Curacao and raised in St. Martin, both Caribbean territories administered by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
In 1985, I began my university studies at the University of Miami and in 1989 graduated from Syracuse University in New York with a bachelor’s degree in linguistics. That year, I returned home and was employed at the University of St. Martin, coordinating the English-as-a-Second Language program and teaching English.
In 1996, I obtained a pre-law diploma (propaedeuse) from the University of the Netherlands Antilles in Curacao, while working as the community outreach and prevention officer for Turning Point, a drug rehabilitation center, and an editor for The Chronicle newspaper.
In 2005, I obtained a master of arts in education administration from the University of the Virgin Islands. At the same time, I headed the Language Division, subsequently the Humanities Division, at the University of St. Martin.
From 2010 – 2012, I served as St. Martin’s first Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, and Youth Affairs in the UP/DP coalition government. While serving as minister, I graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in 2011, with a doctorate in English, specializing in Caribbean linguistics.
Since leaving office, I continue to work as a consultant and currently teach English at the University of The Bahamas.
I’m the owner/operator of SoIL (Source of Inspiration and Learning) book café and the founder of the Institute for Language Research and Development, under which the United Academy is run.
My book Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin was published in 2014.
I believe in the love, unity, and people empowerment.
ChenziRa Davis Kahina respectfully known as “Dr. Chen” is a co-founding director of Per Ankh (House of Life) ©, Per Ankh M Smai Tawi©, and Per Ankh Khamniversity Institute © supporting Culture, Health, Arts, Technology and Spirituality for Life, Inspiration, Freedom, and Education (CHATS4LIFE©). Davis Kahina is the CEO of AST Speaks consultancy; inaugural director of the VI Caribbean Cultural Center at the University of the Virgin Islands; and producer/director/writer/narrator of the ethnodocumentary Queens of the Virgins. Davis Kahina’s academic and intellectual research journeys include Rutgers, Pepperdine, UC San Diego, International University of Natural Sciences with certifications from other global institutions. Davis Kahina works collaboratively with interdisciplinary, socioeconomic-focused, Caribbean-centered organizations, and global alliances inclusive of: Caribbean Pan African Network; CARICOM Caribbean Reparations Commission; Afrakan Queen Mother Warriors©; VI Architecture Center for Built Heritage and Crafts; Toastmasters International™; Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus©; CaribAcademy©; Association of Naturopathic Therapeutics; Heritage Education Arts Legacy©; Society of Black Archaeologists; St. Croix Foundation for Community Development-NonProfit Consortium; African Views©; and other academic, sustainable, and humanitarian organizational developments. Currently she is a professor with the University of the Virgin Islands College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
Kristina Hinds is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science and Head of the Department of Government, Sociology, Social Work and Psychology at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus. Dr. Hinds was sworn into the Senate of Barbados as an Independent Senator in April 2022. She holds a PhD in International Relations (LSE), an MA in International Relations (University of Kent), a PGDip in University Teaching and Learning (UWI) and a BA in International Development Studies (St. Mary’s University). She has published a book, Civil Society Organisations, Governance and the Caribbean Community; journal articles; and book chapters on a variety of topics relating to Caribbean governance and International Relations/Political Economy. Hinds has served extensively within the International Studies Association since 2015 and will serve as a vice president effective March 2023. She worked as the Caribbean Studies Association’s Programme Chair (2019-2021) and currently serves on its executive. Hinds is a host of “Down to Brass Tacks”, a Barbadian current affairs radio show; has contributed newspaper columns and social and political analyses for media across the Caribbean; has represented Barbados as national Field Hockey Goalkeeper; has served as the Female Vice-President of the Barbados Hockey Federation (2016-2018); and in advisory and executive positions for other local non-governmental organisations.
Dr Nicholas Faraclas is a full tenured Professor in Linguistics at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. He received his PhD in Linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989, where he was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship and two Fulbright Fellowships. He has published more than 25 books and 80 scientific articles and chapters, and presented at more than 100 professional conferences in more than 40 countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. Having supervised more than 40 PhD and MA theses, he has also developed and taught more than 50 different courses in a considerable number of distinct areas of theoretical, descriptive, socio-, and applied linguistics at universities in North and South America, Africa, the Pacific, Europe, and the Caribbean. Over the past four decades, he has been conducting research on postcolonial linguistics and colonial era contact languages, as well as promoting community based popular education and literacy activities for both adults and children in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
Kaifa Roland is currently Director of Global Black Studies and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Clemson University. Her research is in the area of cultural anthropology with a focus Cuba on the African diaspora in the Caribbean. She has topical interests in tourism, entrepreneurship, national identity, racial and gender constructions, popular cultural practices, and critiques of capitalism.
Kaifa Roland joins Clemson from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she has been Associate Professor of Anthropology since 2006 and served as Chair of Women and Gender Studies since 2020.
Roland holds a B.A. in Third World Studies at Oberlin College, an M.A. in African Studies from Howard University, and a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University.
Her career as an instructor began at Duke University, where she taught courses in Contemporary Culture in Cuba and the Caribbean. After Duke, she was a visiting instructor and visiting professor in anthropology at Kenyon College. She has been on faculty at University of Colorado at Boulder since 2006.
As a cultural anthropologist, Roland’s research has focused on the Caribbean, specifically Cuba. Belonging is a central theme of her book, “Cuban Color in Tourism and La Lucha: An Ethnography of Racial Meanings,” as well as of multiple articles and chapters she has penned describing the black experience.
I am Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma. I received my Ph.D. in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1999. My research and teaching focus on Caribbean, African American and African literary and cultural studies. I was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar at l’Université Ouaga 1 Professeur Ki-Zerbo, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 2010-2011. I am the author of the books Literary Black Power in the Caribbean: Fiction, Music and Film (Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 2021);and of Strangers at Home: American Ethnic Modernism between the World Wars (Nebraska University Press 2005/2009); and the co-editor (with Ellie Higgins and Dayna Oscherwitz) of the book The Western in the Global South (Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 2015). My recent publications focus on West African cinema and music and on Afro-Caribbean literature and culture.
Dr. Genève Phillip-Durham is the Principal Consultant of REACH Global; a Caribbean-based research, education, and career consulting firm. She holds a Bsc. in Public Sector Management, Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations, Msc. in Global Studies, and PhD. in International Relations. Over the past ten (10) years, Genève has served in management and leadership roles both regionally and internationally, inter alia; as Administrative Manager at the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, the Dean of Academics at the University of St. Martin and the Supervisory Committee of Eastern Credit Union. She is currently the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University College of Cayman Islands. Genève also serves as an Academic Board Member of the Accreditation Agency of Curaçao, the Book Reviews Editor for the Island Studies Journal- an international peer reviewed journal, and Secretary of the Board of Directors for Solar Head of State- an international NGO which focuses on sustainability and renewable energy.
Genève has a keen interest in contributing to the political economy of development, specifically in Caribbean small island states and non-independent territories and as such, much of her academic work focuses on generating indigenous and innovative policy solutions for island-nominated challenges. She has published peer reviewed articles and book chapters on topics such as; capacity and institution building, policy practice, good governance, diversification and resilience, and has presented her academic research at several Conferences throughout the Caribbean, North America and Europe.
Maya I. Freeman the current CSA2023-2025 Graduate Student Representative is a researcher, health/wellness educator, creative artist, photojournalist, and mother. Freeman is a graduate student in the Goddard Graduate Institute of Goddard College.
Maya Freeman has remained committed to successfully completing her Ph.D. in Sociology. Freeman’s research and interdisciplinary studies in Caribbean/Indigenous Global History, Global/African Diasporan Studies, Global Social History, Hybrid Cultural Studies, and related areas inclusive of Intersectional Studies of the Caribbean and wider Americas.
Freeman completed her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology-Cum Laude at City University of New York-Hunter College. Freeman attended the University of the Virgin Islands- Orville Kean Campus in St. Thomas from 2014-2016 attending CUNY-Hunter College.
Freeman remains engaged in community service organizations, social media marketing, graphic design development, and creative arts consultant projects. Served as CSA2023 St. Croix Local Organizing Committee Representative and Virtual Administrative Program Coordinator for
CSA2023 St. Croix Conference.
Mala Jokhan is the Research Specialist with the International Co-operation Desk, Ministry of Health, Trinidad and Tobago, and teaches in the Sociology (undergraduate) and Child, Adolescent and Youth Studies (graduate) Programs at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Open Campus, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. Specializing in migration, family, childhood and cultural studies, she volunteers as a Research Associate in the Rights of Children and Youth Partnership (RCYP) Project: Immigration Dynamics (Caribbean-Canadian Immigration); a Ryerson University and UWI, Mona and St. Augustine collaboration. With a special interest in Caribbean scholarship, she is a member of the Society for Caribbean Studies (SCS), the Executive Council of the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) in the position of CSA Secretariat (SALISES, UWI, St. Augustine) and also serves on the Examination Committee of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) as an Assistant Chief Examiner of Sociology for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE). She holds a PhD in Social Policy from the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), UWI, St. Augustine. Her research interests mainly include transnational migration and globalization; unemployment, poverty and social wellbeing; childhood and youth; family and caregiving; children of migrants; public healthcare for migrants; migration of healthcare professionals; migration and the spread of communicable diseases; immigrant youth (identity and adaptation); Caribbean ethnicity and culture; Caribbean diaspora; environmental migrants; immigration policies, parent-child separation and reunification; human trafficking; anti-trafficking policy development and interventions; social policy formulation and reform.
Dwaine Plaza is a Professor of Sociology in the School of Public Policy. From 2016-2018 he served as an Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University. In 2019 he was elected to serve as the Faculty Senate President. He has been at Oregon State University for twenty-two years and teaches a wide slate of classes both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His teaching includes: Race and Ethnic Relations, Globalization, Social Justice, Cross Cultural Issues, Applied Research Methods, International study abroad, Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods. He has written extensively on the topic of Caribbean migration within the international diaspora, gender and STEM education, critical pedagogy, and ethnic relations in Canada.
Meagan Sylvester is a published author from the Caribbean twin island of Trinidad and Tobago. She is a UWI, St. Augustine graduate who specialises in the Sociology of Music and she is a Caribbean scholar whose doctoral research focused on Narratives of Resistance in Calypso and Ragga Soca music. Her continuing interrogation within the academy centers on Music, Gender, and National Identity in Calypso and Soca, Music of Diasporic Carnivals, Narratives of Resistance in Calypso and Ragga Soca music, Steelpan and kaisoJazz musical identities. Teaching and research interests are Caribbean Music Cultures and African Diaspora Popular Culture. In addition, she has hosted scholarly workshops on music and culture in Europe, Latin America, South America, the United States and the Caribbean.
She is currently a Visiting Professor, Sociology and Anthropology at Farmingdale State College at The State University of New York and an adjunct professor of Africana Studies at Queens College and English Composition at New York City College of Technology.
She holds professional memberships in international organizations which include the Society for Ethnomusicology, the International Association of the Study for Popular Music, Caribbean Studies Association and the Association of Black Sociologists.
As a Labour Market specialist, she has worked as a Senior Lecturer with responsibility for the Research Methods and Sociology academic programmes at the Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies in Trinidad and Tobago. Specialising in Labour Market Research, she has held positions on cabinet-appointed government sub-committees with responsibility for providing baseline survey data and monitoring and evaluation for national labour market sectors at The Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development in Trinidad and Tobago.
Her many board appointments demonstrate her commitment to her public engagement portfolio: (i) Education and Research – She is a board member of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation – TUCO and holds the position as Director, Education and Research. (ii) Culture and Archiving – She holds a board position at the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Museum (iii) Communications and Information Technology – she is an Executive Board member of the Caribbean Studies Association – CSA. She holds two positions on the CSA Council, namely Chair, Newsletter Committee and Co-Chair of the Digital Media Network Committee.
Signaling her passion for volunteerism, she is a committee member for three organisations which focus on women a) the Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago (PLOTT), b) The Association of Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago (AFETT) and c) Caribbean Women Honours and Empowerment.
Guido Rojer, Jr. is a Curacaoan author, scholar, professional troublemaker, and tech pundit advocating for the tech industry. He specializes in innovation and (international) entrepreneurship in Island Economies and lectures at the University of Curaçao. He holds an MSc in Public Policy from the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance. He draws his contributions from executive and supervisory experience in both profit and not for profit sectors, and has fulfilled roles as advisor to governments and multilateral organizations in the region.