>PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Friday, 9 October 2018, the University of St. Martin (USM) will host an evening of public dialogue on the meaning of Saint Maarten Day, the history and future of the island’s people and their cultural and socio-economic development. Guest keynote speakers for this event entitled Soualiga: One island, one people, one destiny, include Daniella Jeffry, who will talk about the people of Soualiga from a historical perspective, and Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, who will offer some reflections on the content of the annual 11 November commemoration.
USM is hoping to attract a crowd from both the North- as well as the Southside of the island on Friday evening.
“If we use the word Soualiga to refer to the entire island, and we make a call to civil society organisations from both the French and Dutch sides to mobilise for this event, I think we can stimulate a broad and fruitful dialogue”, said USM President Dr. Antonio Carmona in written statements to the press on Monday.
“It is important to emphasise that although we are divided into two territories, the people of Soualiga are one –and we want to talk about development holistically, looking beyond the borders.”
Following the introduction and the keynote lecture, French-Dutch national Mrs. Claire Elshot-Aventurin from the Windward Island Chamber of Labour will offer her reactions to the keynote talks in order to kick-off the public’s participation.
The doors of USM’s seminar room will open at 6.30 P.M. on Friday, in order for the public to accommodate themselves on time for the 7PM event. Refreshments will be provided for by the SXM Anti-poverty Platform, a coalition of civil society organisations and groups dedicated to socio-economic justice.