NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey — St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ ambassador to the United Nations, Camillo Gonsalves, will attend Rutgers Day today — Saturday, April 27, where he will address the university’s annual New Jersey Folk Festival.
Rutgers is a leading national public research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education.
The folk festival is the end product of a special three-credit class, which offers undergraduate instruction in running a folk festival and the public presentation of culture.
It is one of only a handful of folk festivals in the U.S. managed by undergraduate students. The students are responsible for all aspects of advertising, planning, and producing an event that celebrates the diverse multicultural and indigenous folk life of New Jersey and the surrounding region.
A media avail will follow Gonsalves’ address on the steps of the Wood Lawn Mansion.
This year’s New Jersey Folk Festival will feature the music and culture of the Garifuna people of Central America.
The Garifuna, who are descendants of Carib, Arawak and West African people, were exiled by the British from SVG to Central America.
Today, Garifuna people live in Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras. UNESCO proclaimed Garifuna culture a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage in 2001.
Gonsalves became SVG’s permanent representative to the U.N. in November 2007. Prior to his U.N. post, he worked as a corporate litigation attorney, was Senior Crown Counsel for the SVG government, and represented his country in various capacities in Cuba, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Korea, Lybia and throughout the CARICOM region.
Gonsalves has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Temple University, a juris doctor from George Washington University, and an Master of Science in global affairs from New York University.
“We are particularly pleased that Ambassador Gonsalves will speak at the Folk Festival this year,” Angus Kress Gillespie, professor of American studies and founder and executive director of the New Jersey Folk Festival said.
“St. Vincent is the ancestral homeland of the Garifuna people and it is a tribute to their resiliency that, even after more than 200 years of exile, they have managed to hold on to their language and traditions.”
This year’s festivities will offer nearly 500 free performances, tours, exhibits and hands-on activities on the university’s flagship campus in New Brunswick and Piscataway. Last year, 75,000 New Jerseyans of all ages explored the university’s research and service first-hand.