The inaugural Culture Uma Fest was held on April 17 in Taiwan’s capital Taipei, and was positively received by enthusiastic individuals who gathered at the city’s Maji Square to learn about Caribbean culture.
The event showcased Caribbean and Latin American culture, food, music and art. A parade of performances from multiple artists included the Honduran Cultural Troupe in Taiwan, Saint Lucian singer Rankings, Kittitian steel drummer Stephen Richards and an all-student Paraguayan dance team. Eighteen businesses and other organisations also exhibited at the festival, aiming to further promote Caribbean culture. These included Yuca Taipei, Sabor Venezolano, the Belize-Taiwan Association, and some of the Caribbean embassies.
The festival was co-organised by Flvcko Events, founded by Vincentian student Ari Shaw, and the Taiwan Digital Diplomacy Association (TDAA), founded by Chiayo Kuo. Shaw noted in a press release that: “In the past, Taiwan has had no events that showcase the rich culture of the Caribbean. I hope that this festival will become the path for the Caribbean culture to come to Taiwan”.
As well as many local residents, the attendees included some representatives from Taiwan’s diplomatic offices including Ambassador Andrea Bowman of St. Vincent and Grenadines and Ambassador Jasmine E. Huggins of St. Christopher and Nevis. Ambassador Bowman launched a fundraising campaign in support of the victims of the La Soufrière eruption and spoke on the legitimisation of Taiwan’s sovereignty and its right of place in the global community.
She added that the cross-cultural exchange of “sights, tastes, and songs, in a Taiwanese setting, satisfies one of the principal purposes of the diplomatic missions in the RoC”. Kuo intimated that the aim of TDAA was to connect the different foreign communities and cultures in Taiwan with the local Taiwanese community, and tobuild deeper and warmer friendships. The ambassadors and representatives in attendance also acknowledged the need to foster oneness between the Taiwanese, the Latin America and Caribbean countries by making this an annual event.