WASHINGTON, DC, May 29, 2030 – National Caribbean American Heritage Month Celebrations will open with an Official Ceremony on June 1st at 10:00 am EDT. The event will be hosted virtually on the Zoom platform and will feature keynote speaker, Brian A. Nichols, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.
Brian A. Nichols became Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs on September 15, 2021. Assistant Secretary Nichols previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe from 2018 to 2021. In that role, he promoted democracy, rule of law and human rights in Zimbabwe while managing multi-dimensional humanitarian crises brought on by corruption, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previously, Assistant Secretary Nichols served as the U.S. Ambassador to Peru from 2014 to 2017. He pioneered strategies against illegal gold mining, illegal logging, wildlife trafficking, and environmental degradation. He supported American trade and investment in Peru, increasing agricultural sales to over $1 billion annually, defending the rights of American investors, and building the Hemisphere’s largest public-private partnership—the U.S.-Peru Cacao Alliance.
Nichols was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) from 2011 to 2013. In that capacity, he oversaw the full range of rule of law programs, counter-narcotics, and multilateral issues managed by the bureau.
From 2007 to 2010, he served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, where he managed day-to-day U.S. diplomatic activities in Colombia including overseeing over $500 million in annual assistance. Nichols led the Office of Caribbean Affairs, coordinating U.S. policy toward 14 Caribbean countries from 2004 to 2007. Prior to that, he served as Political Counselor in Indonesia, as well as tours in Mexico and El Salvador during major democratic transitions. He began his Foreign Service career as a Consular Officer in Peru in 1989.
A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Assistant Secretary Nichols has earned 27 awards during his diplomatic career, including a Presidential Distinguished Service Award, two Presidential Meritorious Service Awards and the Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development.
Other invited speakers include: H.E. Wendall Jones, Ambassador of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas to the USA and Chair of the CARICOM Diplomatic Caucus; and Ambassador Nestor Mendez, Assistant Secretary General of the OAS. Special live performances by internationally acclaimed Jamaican tenor, Steve Higgins; and Gerard Placide, three-time first place winner McDonalds Gospelfest is also on the agenda to commemorate the occasion. Since 2006, June has been designated as National Caribbean American Heritage Month by Presidential Proclamation. Caribbean Americans have contributed to the development of the United States in extraordinary ways. Millions of people in the United States are connected to our Caribbean Neighbors.
“Honoring Our Journey, Shaping our Future” is the theme for the June 2023 Caribbean American Heritage Month, being celebrated across the United States in recognition of the contribution of the Caribbean Peoples to the culture and economy of the nation. The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), a non-profit based in Washington DC, Founding Convenor of the movement along with Caribbean diaspora associations across twenty states are organizing activities in communities with significant levels of Caribbean American Nationals. This year’s activities will be held in a variety of hybrid options (virtual and in-person) owing to the ongoing effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The ‘SMART’ Caribbean Gathering and Caribbean American Legislative Week are the main intellectual components of the month-long celebrations in which Caribbean-American leaders and sector-knowledge experts come together to discuss issues affecting the Caribbean Region as well as Caribbean Americans. It is expected that members of the Congressional Caribbean Caucus and US administration officials, will also participate in timely discussions of policy issues affecting the Caribbean American community in Legislative Week, June 20-24th.
“Since the beginning, ICS has worked together with our partners and stakeholders to successfully grow awareness of the commemoration; and more importantly signal a sea of change in Caribbean immigrant relationships with the political and policy elite here in the US. said Dr. Claire Nelson, ICS President & Founder, a White House Champion of Change and Forbes Top 50 female futurists. The onus is on us as Caribbean community leaders to be present in the room, and if needed bring our folding chair, she added. Additionally, a variety of cultural Celebrations, carnivals and festivals are planned from California to Georgia, Massachusetts and all points between.
National Caribbean American Heritage Month has been celebrated annually every June since 2006. The month represents an opportunity to bring together Caribbean peoples across the world to address common concerns; to allow Caribbean peoples everywhere to feel a sense of place in the public discourse, and to strengthen the Caribbean Voice in the World.