Matthew Samuda, a strong advocate on environmental sustainability, has joined the list of outstanding Jamaican participants on the prestigious European Union Visitors Programme (EUVP) that assembles young global leaders in Europe yearly for political and knowledge exchanges.
Mr Samuda, a senator in Jamaica's Parliament, is one of the key proponents of Jamaica's recent progressive steps to curb plastic use in the country. He's also in charge of communications for the ruling Jamaica Labour Party.
The programme will run from Jan 13 – 17, mostly in Brussels, Belgium, the heart of EU politics. The Senator will also visit Strasbourg in France where the European Parliament sits. His agenda includes meetings with European parliamentarians, political party leaders and senior leaders of EU institutions, including those who work on issues relating to the Caribbean, fisheries and the environment.
It's an experience Mr Samuda says he's looking forward to - the cultural exchange, opportunities to network and importantly to learn about the EU and its work. "It’s always good to experience first-hand how others conduct their affairs. This will grow understanding and strengthen the relationship," he said. "Participation is important to me. I’m humbled at being given the opportunity to learn about the workings of one of the most successful multilateral arrangements in the world and the lessons I can bring home to help my country."
Previous participants include Samuda's colleagues in the Senate, Damion Crawford, from the Opposition, and Pearnel Charles Jr, a minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, who participated in 2019. Current Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith; Minister Floyd Green; Julian Robinson, General Secretary of the Opposition People's National Party and former Senator Imani Duncan Price are alums of the programme.
"Going to Brussels is going to the heart of the EU; it's a great opportunity to experience directly what we do and interact with the people who do it, as well. Senator Samuda will get the chance to explore common linkages and hopefully return home with enhanced ideas to tackle shared problems like climate change," shared Malgorzata Wasilewska, the EU Ambassador to Jamaica. "I also want to congratulate Senator Samuda on his impactful advocacy for the environment and his work in the implementation of measures to reduce plastic use."
The EUVP is an initiative of the European Parliament and the European Commission that invites promising young leaders and opinion shapers from countries outside the European Union to visit EU institutions to gain a first-hand appreciation of the EU and how it works.