Indian Diaspora Conference in St. Vincent

CFP: Abstract due April 1, 2012; full paper due May 1, 2012. See below for full details.

Conference on The Indian Diaspora in St. Vincent and the wider Caribbean
June 1-3, 2012
Convener: The St. Vincent Chapter of GOPIO International

Following the sporadic series of conferences on the Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean since 1975 held mainly in Trinidad and Tobago, a group of academics are planning to organise one conference every year in various parts of the region. This year’s conference will be held in St. Vincent in June 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 2012 on the theme “The Indian Diaspora in St. Vincent and the wider Caribbean.” The conference will coincide with Indian Arrival Day in St. Vincent on June 1st which has been formally recognised by St Vincent and the Grenadines Parliament since 2007.

The population of St. Vincent is approximately 100,000 consisting mainly of persons of African descent. There are small numbers of mixed persons of Carib and African origin, Europeans and South Asians/East Indians. Indians form about 5,000 (5%) of the total population. Although Indians in St. Vincent are scattered in several villages, there are distinct areas where they are concentrated, namely Richland Park, Calder and Rosebank as well as Akers, Georgetown, Park Hill and Orange Hill.

The St. Vincent Chapter of GOPIO (The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) will be the main host and organiser of the conference. GOPIO was founded in New York in 1989 initially to fight human rights violation of People of Indian Origin (PIO). GOPIO has now set its priorities in pooling the resources, both financial and professional, for the benefit of PIOs in the countries they live.

The conference organisers will provide free accommodation, breakfast and lunch, and ground transportation for the weekend for presenters only. Other participants would be provided with subsidised services and facilities. Rooms can be shared to minimise the cost of accommodation. Participants are free to choose their own accommodation at their own cost. However, all participants should stay at or near the conference venue for security and convenience. Participants are encouraged to invite and bring their friends and family members for the weekend in St. Vincent.

The tentative programme is as follows:

Friday June 1– ceremonial opening at 6.00 p.m. with a feature speech, concluding with cocktail drinks and finger-food.

Saturday June 2 – all-day presentations from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., concluding with a cultural show and/or film screening beginning at 7.00 p.m.

Sunday June 3 – all-day island guided tour that would include tangible, intangible and natural heritage and historical sites such as monuments, museums, beaches, events, ceremonies and activities.

The conference aims to bring together academics, scholars, students, teachers, organisations and people with an interest in the Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean to discuss their research findings. Space will be provided for less formal presentations from activists and practitioners in the field in order to contribute to the limited store of public knowledge on Indians in the St. Vincent.

Possible paper topics can include, but are not limited to conversion, resistance, discrimination, politics, history, family histories, migration, literature, gender, orature, performance, art, sports, recreation, accommodation, survival, the media, etc. Each paper to be presented must focus on, or at least make reference to Indians in St. Vincent.

Please send abstract of 200 words and brief biodata (via Word attachment)

by April, 1, 2012 to

Dr. Arnold Thomas in St. Vincent –,
GOPIO International Coordinator for the Caribbean
Dr. Kumar Mahabir in Trinidad –,
University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)

In the Subject line, please type, “St Vincent Indian Conference”

The deadline date for the submission of the full paper is May 1, 2012.


The tentative conference schedule for the next five years is as follows:

2011 – Conference in Trinidad and Tobago – done

2012 – Conference in St. Vincent

2013 – Conference in Suriname

2014 – Conference in Belize

2015 – Conference in Trinidad – 170th anniversary of Indian Arrival

2016 – Conference in Jamaica?

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