By Lesroy W. Williams Observer Reporter (Basseterre, St. Kitts)-As part of a series to commemorate Emancipation Day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade will be hosting two public forums. On August 6, 2008 at the Molineux Primary School at 7 pm, the first public forum will be under the theme, “Advancing National Development through Diasporic Engagement and Local Involvement.” The second public forum will be hosted at the Basseterre High School Auditorium under the theme, “Africa and the Caribbean: The Case for Learning, Sharing and Engaging” on August 7 at 7 pm. The presenter for both sessions is Dr. Gosnell L. Yorke, a Kittitian from Molineux/Phillips, who is Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Vice-President of the Faculty Senate and Professor of Religion at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Jamaica. Dr. Yorke is married to Doreen Evans of Jamaica and is the father of three children, Chrystal, Oumari and Kanyika. Dr. Yorke is a noted scholar who was educated in his tender years at the Molineux and Estridge Elementary Schools from 1958-1964. His secondary education was done at The St. Kitts-Nevis Grammar School and the Basseterre Senior High School from 1965-1971. His Ph.D. was done at McGill University, Canada, in Religious Studies. He did a post-doctoral programme in African Languages and Linguistics from the University of South Africa. Dr. Yorke has published numerous books and articles dealing with topics such as biblical studies, Christianity and African Cultures and post-colonialism. His list of accomplishments can go on. Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to put greater effort in public education and awareness on a range of issues of importance to the Federation. “One of our foreign policy objectives for this year is to engage in more extensive engagement with the African continent and in particular to deepen and extend our engagement with member states on the African continent,” Dr. Harris said. St. Kitts and Nevis has established diplomatic ties with twenty one countries on the African continent, Dr. Harris said. “There is enduring interest in Africa, its civilization. Its people, our links, ancestral and historical ties,” Harris stated. He emphasized the need to raise the consciousness and knowledge of the local community about Africa and its contribution to world development especially because there has been an information void and a negative portrayal of Africa as a continent trapped in a vortex of conflict, anarchy, disease and underdevelopment. There are many students presently in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis from the African continent who are studying Medicine, Nursing or some other field.