About Founder & Chairman
Dr. Hume Johnson is Assistant Professor of Public Relations at Roger Williams University, Rhode Island. She holds a PhD in Political Science & Public Policy from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, Masters in Government (International Relations) and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. Dr. Johnson writes extensively on civil society and governance in Jamaica for leading journals. She is the author of the book ‘Challenges to Civil Society: Popular Protest and Governance in Jamaica’ (Cambria Press). A former broadcast journalist and political consultant, Dr. Johnson is a recognized political analyst with Jamaican media and a noted spokesperson on Brand Jamaica.
I am Jamaican, born and bred. My childhood and early formative years were spent in Jamaica – a country, which is at the same time, proud and uneasy, about its global brand image and reputation. I am particularly alert and concerned about the dichotomous perception of Jamaica. Perhaps its because my story has stretched way beyond the borders of this tiny island in the Caribbean Sea, inhabited by a mere 2.7 million people.
I have had a varied, interesting and, notably, very international life. Over the last decade alone, I have lived in three countries – New Zealand, Australia and the United States. I have visited myriad countries and cities. From my backyard in the Caribbean, I have been to Antigua, Barbados, Turks and Caicos Islands and Trinidad and Tobago. In Europe, I explored England, Austria and Germany. In Asia, I visited Singapore and Mainland China. While in the South Pacific, I have visited numerous cities – Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga, Wellington, Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Townsville and Brisbane. In the process, I discovered that every place has a unique identity and distinctive character. Indeed, one’s experience living in or visiting a place determines their perception of it. This is their experience of that place but every place has a complex identity based on the media’s coverage of it, the residents’ own feelings towards it and the perception of visitors to that place. All this can tell you a lot about that place.
One of the most intriguing insights I had during these years of travel and experiences living and working and visiting other places has been the mixed feelings and perceptions of Jamaica. People are enthusiastic about the accomplishments of this tiny nation but also curious about its negative reputation in areas of crime, human rights etc. I also got to see my own country from all these vantage points. It was an opportunity to look at Jamaica from the outside in.
Jamaica – once highly respected in the international community; seen as a leader in social justice movement, a kind of ‘One Love Republic’ so to speak – must begin to accept its now speckled brand image and deteriorating reputation and take steps to create a paradigmatic shift. The current presumption is that the positives in sport, tourism and music will outweigh the negatives. That is a flawed assumption. Since reading Simon Anholt, (one of the leading proponents of the “nation brand” model) feasibility study on Jamaica, I have begun to explore in more detail this concept and the relevance to ‘Brand Jamaica to Jamaica’s economic and social progress; The result has been an ongoing speaker series, media interviews on the subject, scholarly research, a book project, and finally, the initiative we have come to call the Re:Imagine Jamaica Project.
I will be sharing my thoughts on Brand Jamaica, place branding and nation branding in general, including positive developments in Jamaica and in the Jamaican Diaspora worldwide that have relevance to Brand Jamaica. We will also feature outstanding Jamaicans who through their successes are promoting a positive expression of Jamaican identity in the global arena. Feel free to follow this blog, join in the conversation by adding comments and/or suggesting topical issues and areas, which you think, may be of relevance to the Brand Jamaica discourse.
Follow Re-Imagine Jamaica @BrandJamaica_ on Twitter, and connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to follow me as well – @DrHumeJohnson. I can also be reached at email@example.com