Denis Walcott who ran America’s largest school system for three years is set to energize future leaders of Caribbean tourism at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s Caribbean Week New York.

The former New York City education chancellor, who served from 2011 to 2013, will deliver the motivational speech at the Students’ Colloquium and will later engage the students in an exchange which allows the participants to pick Mr. Walcott’s brain.

The grandson of Caribbean immigrants, Mr. Walcott rose to become chancellor of the city’s school system – the equivalent of a minister of education in the Caribbean. He had responsibility for the education of over one million students who attended 1,800 public schools across the five boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, and managed a budget of  US$24 billion.

He sees Caribbean Week New York as an ideal opportunity for CTO member countries to increase awareness of their destinations in the region’s largest tourism market .

“It’s always exciting when CTO comes to New York for Caribbean Week, how they reach out to make sure people are engaged with the different countries that are represented. There is something for everyone to participate in and it’s an opportunity to meet new people as well,” Mr. Walcott said.

Prior to his appointment as chancellor, Mr. Walcott served as deputy mayor for education and community development. Most recently he served as Honorary Distinguished Fellow at the University of the West Indies. 

Four tertiary institutions from the Caribbean and the US will participate in this year’s Students’ Colloquium, Caribbean Week New York’s primary youth event.

Teams from the College of the Bahamas, Monroe College in New York, Jamaica’s University of Technology and the Turks & Caicos Islands Community College will challenge each other on sustainable tourism issues.

Themed  “Students Taking Centre Stage: A Forum for Rising Stars in Caribbean Tourism”, the Colloquium serves as a catalyst for creativity through competitiveness and scholastic research. It functions to enhance in-class learning among students, by heightening sensitivity to sustainable initiatives in the Caribbean region while providing a platform for promoting the Caribbean as the most desirable year round warm weather destination. Monroe College are the defending champions.

In addition to hearing from Mr. Walcott, participants will be entertained by Miss Montserrat Festival Queen, Sharissa Ryan. Also present will be the junior minister of tourism for the Turks & Caicos Islands, William Elliott, who will represent his country at the CTO’s Tourism Youth Congress at the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Curacao in October.

The Student’s Colloquium takes place on Wednesday 3 June 2015 from 2:00 – 5:00 pm at the Grand Ballroom of the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel on 32nd Street & 8th Avenue in Manhattan. 

Caribbean Week New York is a series of business meetings and consumer events organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s New York office to showcase the warmth, spirit and vibrancy of the Caribbean. In addition to direct contact with consumers, it also provides extensive media exposure for participating CTO members and partners.