Port of Spain, December 05, 2023 — The College of Science, Technology, and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT), in collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS), hosted the inaugural public lecture in a series titled “Resilience and Innovation.” Held at The Government Campus Plaza Auditorium in Port of Spain, the event focused on ‘Rights-Based Policy Responses to International Migration: A Look at Venezuelan Migration in the Region.’
The diverse audience included members of the general public, representatives from ministries, private companies, government agencies, NGOs, and even school children, fostering a holistic and inclusive discussion on this critical issue.
Dr. Keith Nurse, President of COSTAATT, set the stage by underlining academia’s pivotal role in developing future skills outlined by the World Economic Forum. He emphasized the critical link between higher education, narrative shaping, and cultivating problem-solving mindsets crucial for innovating real-world solutions.
The featured address by Dr. Betilde Munoz-Pogossian, Director of the Department of Social Inclusion at the OAS, delved into the Venezuelan migration crisis. Dr. Muñoz-Pogossian advocated for a “rights-based response,” stressing the importance of policies regarding minors, gender, ethnicity, gender identity, disabilities, safety, and security. She highlighted the necessity of collaborative efforts among governments, NGOs, and private entities to address the ongoing crisis.
A panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Kevin Peters from COSTAATT, brought together a distinguished panel comprising Dr. Nurse, Dr. Muñoz-Pogossian, legal and human rights experts, and migrant advocates. Key points highlighted included the necessity for local legislative frameworks, challenges faced by migrants, the strain on regional services, and the potential economic contributions migrants can make if integrated effectively.
The discourse at this event emphasized the urgency for bilingual services, thorough research, and collaborative efforts among governments for effective management and resolution of the crisis. Dr. Muñoz-Pogossian concluded by reiterating the crucial role of dialogue between governments and the shared responsibility of all stakeholders in addressing this issue.
In January 2024, look out for the next edition of the ‘Resilience and Innovation’ public lecture series which will continue spearheading innovation-driven discussions on a variety of global challenges. They are all specifically pertinent to Caribbean small island states and encompass pressing topics such as climate change, technology, and criminal justice.