Melanie Choisy to Represent St. Maarten at the UNESCO Caribbean Youth Forum

The UNESCO Caribbean Youth Forum on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage will be held November 20-24 in Grenada. The objectives of the forum are to:

· build knowledge of youth on the Convention’s concepts and mechanisms and their role in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage;

· foster dialogue among youth on strategies to strengthen the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage;

· orient youth toward activities and collaboration geared at safeguarding their intangible cultural heritage, and building mutual respect for the heritage of others.


The five-day forum which will be structured around a number of sessions will be attended by approximately 25 participants from youth groups/organizations from about 16 different Caribbean Small Island and Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). At the conclusion of the session, participants will draft a brief report on their experience during the Forum, which will be submitted to the 7th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Melanie Choisy who is a 22-year-old recent graduate of the University of Miami where she received double Bachelor of Arts degrees in Latin American & Caribbean Studies and International Development with a minor in Spanish, was selected from among the applicants who applied to represent St. Maarten at this youth forum.

Majoring in these subjects has allowed Melanie to be very knowledgeable of numerous cultures, languages, and institutions, especially those particular to the Latin American and Caribbean region. During her last two years in Miami, she interned for Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator, a local Miami 501(c)(3) organization that offers support and exhibition opportunities for Emerging Artists of the Latin American and Caribbean Diaspora.

In late March of this year, Melanie traveled to Kingston, Jamaica with Diaspora Vibe and fourteen American and UK-based artists to host its 15th International Cultural Exchange at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. Two months later in May, Melanie was presented with the rare opportunity to travel to Cuba from the United States for the 2012 edition of the Havana Arts Biennial.

Since her return to her homeland of St. Maarten, Melanie has decided to channel her energies towards improving our island’s social structure by encouraging volunteerism and the importance of philanthropy by way of a newly established local non-profit foundation called Be The Change.