The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade invites the public to view its 55th Anniversary exhibition, which will run from Tuesday September 5 to Friday, September 15, from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on weekdays, at the Ministry’s Dominica Drive location.
Included in the anniversary activities, being celebrated under the theme, “The Jamaican Foreign Service at 55: Saluting a Legacy of Distinction”, is the launch of two publications – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica: A Historical Perspective 1962-2017 and Policy Statements of Jamaica at the United Nations 1997-2016.
The Ministry had its beginnings in 1961, with the establishment of the Department of External Affairs in the Office of the Premier. The Foreign Ministry was one of the three departments of government deemed essential for independent Jamaica.
Although it has had three names changes over the years, its portfolio responsibility – that of promoting and protecting Jamaica’s interests through effective management of its foreign relations, and safeguarding the welfare of Jamaican nationals overseas – has essentially remained constant.
Having started with three overseas Missions (USA, Great Britain and Canada) on Independence Day, the Ministry now operates twenty-three (23) Missions across the globe and hosts twenty nine (29) diplomatic missions in Kingston.
In its 55 years of existence, the Ministry has had 15 Ministers, 9 Ministers of State, and 16 Permanent Secretaries, some of whom have served multiple tenures. Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, who assumed office in March 2016, holds the distinction of being the first female Foreign Minister.
The Ministry has made its home in New Kingston for the past 23 years and is expected to move to its new and permanent Headquarters in downtown Kingston by early 2019.
As the Ministry celebrates this milestone anniversary, it recognizes the invaluable contribution of its dedicated staff, as well as local and international partners, who over the years have helped to build the legacy of the Jamaican Foreign Service and continue to support its vision “ to execute an inclusive and proactive foreign policy in a dynamic international environment aimed at promoting Jamaica’s prospects for inclusive sustainable economic growth and job creation”.