The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, USA, is establishing an International Institute for Reggae Studies.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange, who was in Minnesota to assist in kick-starting what is intended to be the annual Minnesota International Sports and Reggae Festival and the establishment of the Minnesota International Institute for Reggae Studies, gave her full support to the initiative.
During her visit to the university on the weekend, she stated: “The move by the University of Minnesota to subject reggae music to academic enquiry follows similar programmes established at our own University of the West Indies in Jamaica with a Reggae Studies Unit. However, as far as we know, it is the first of its kind in the United States.”
She added, “Reggae’s contribution to Jamaica’s revenue and global competitiveness has been documented but not shared enough. I hope the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Reggae Studies will contribute to that body of knowledge which speaks to the outstanding economic contribution of reggae music to the global creative economy.”
She noted that while this initiative is primarily about strategic development in Jamaica, the country is coming to the table as a partner. “So while we are looking, for instance, at the establishment of the Reggae Studies Unit at the University of Minnesota School of Music, the embracing of this revolutionary music within the academy at this august institution will serve to enrich and deepen the already-renowned cultural diversity of Minnesota.”
Minister Grange has also pledged the support of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport towards the successful implementation of the initiatives.