frederica-wilson_web.jpgMIAMI — Caribbean music sensation Machel Montano has been tapped to keynote the 40th Annual Florida Caribbean Students Association Leadership Conference and expected to welcome more than 700 college students of Caribbean descent from Florida and the United States is two-term Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.

“With one of the largest Caribbean college student populations in the nation, Miami Dade College is proud to welcome a member of the U.S. House of Representatives to our campus,” said FCSA Conference Chair Christian Hughes, Miami Dade College, North Campus.

Wilson, who is a descedent of Bahamian parents, has an immigrant-rich district and understands that that diversity makes a strong and versatile community. She will make the opening remarks to the conference on April 5 at Miami Dade College’s North Campus. 

“I want the members of the Florida Caribbean Students Association (FCSA) to know that they can succeed and have an important role to play in the continued growth of our community, our state and our country,” Wilson said in a statement. “I want them to be proud of their heritage and of the contributions made by Caribbean and Caribbean-Americans to this great nation.  And, I encourage them to embrace their role as future leaders who will pick-up the torch and carry-on the work begun to provide opportunity and to improve the quality of life for us all.”

Themed “Empowering the Next Generation of Caribbean Leaders,” the conference makeup includes lectures, leadership and professional development workshops, a talent show and family picnic. The talent show is scheduled for April 4, as well as a welcome social.

Workshop topics include:
• “Life and Legacy of Marcus Garvey” with Miami Dade College professor, Geoffrey Philp;
• “The Road to Success in Entrepreneurship” with UM CSA alumni brothers, David and Robert Mullings;
• “Aspire to Inspire” with a panel of local professionals hosted by the Caribbean Bar Association;
• “America, The Land of Opportunity: Immigration Reform” with Maria Rodriguez from Florida Immigrant Coalition and Marleine Bastien of Haitian Women of Miami; attorneys Patricia Elizee and Sasha Watson;
• “Taking Charge of Your Health” with Dr. MikhaIlia Lake-Michael, Dr. Fidel Goldson and CSA alumni and breast cancer advocates Andrea Nugent and Carla Codallo-Hill;
•“Preserving Our Culture and Branding the Caribbean” with representatives from VP Records and Caribbean Airlines;
•“Managing Your Money Today & Tomorrow” with Suzette Rochester of Victoria Mutual Building Society and life coach Tanya Ragbeer;
•“I Love My Community – How Do I Give Back and Make an Impact” with community leaders,
Roslyn Alic-Batson, Stephanie Sylvestre, Deanna Christensen, Noelle McMahon and Dr. Venessa Walker;
• “Caribbean Voices in Media” with local media personalities, Papa Keith of 103.5The Beat, Neki
Mohan of WPLG Local 10, Supa Cindy of 99Jamz, Roxy Romeo of 93.9FM and Jacqueline Charles of The Miami Herald; and
•“My Career, My Life – Planning for the Future” with civil rights activist Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson, educator Pandwe A. Gibson and tech advocate Felecia Hatcher.

“In addition to our cultural and social activities, our conference weekend is expected to empower us for the future,” said Fabrice Stuart, president, Florida Caribbean Student Association.

Held in collaboration with MDC’s Tropical Beat Caribbean Student Association, this year’s conference will explore cultural, leadership and civic engagement in the Caribbean community and showcase student talent throughout the fun and educational-packed weekend.

Students also will hear from Trinidad and Tobago’s Montano on April 5. The music star is internationally recognized for his works in soca and calypso, and other Caribbean and popular genres. Among his many awards and accolades, Montano is a six-time Road March national awardee and at the 2014 Trinidad Carnival was crowned Power International Soca Monarch. For his artistry and entrepreneurship, Montano is also a recipient of the Caribbean Outlier Award by the University of the West Indies’ Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business. Organizers do not know if Montano will perform.

“With one of the largest Caribbean college student populations in the nation, Miami Dade College is proud to welcome one of the Caribbean’s most influential cultural ambassadors to our campus,” said Hughes, of Montano. “His presence will definitely bring a refreshing and energetic flavor to our Conference program.”