“Everything we do here in Trinidad is an event. That’s our culture. When people go to a party, they gather a group of friends, hire a bus and host a pre-party on the way,” explains Arthur Lok Graduate School of Business’ Reánnah Corbie. “I think that’s why our longstanding partnership with the George Washington University Events Management program has been so successful—the curriculum is strong, and there is a lot of opportunity for party planning here.”
For more than a decade, George Washington University has partnered with the Arthur Lok Graduate School of Business to offer a professional certificate that prepares students to plan, participate and execute successful events—from corporate retreats, to weddings to mega events like the Trinidad and Tobago carnival, an annual celebration of calypso, soca, music and dancing.
In January, GW’s Seleni Matus, Executive Director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies was in Trinidad to speak at the graduation ceremony, which Matus described as a “testament to the extraordinary talent and promise of the program’s graduates.”
Matus, a native of the Caribbean nation of Belize, congratulated the 173 participants for choosing a field with enormous growth potential. “A growing number of Caribbean destinations—such as your beloved Trinidad & Tobago as well as Jamaica, Barbados and The Bahamas—are prioritizing the diversification of their tourism product beyond sun, sea and sand by integrating events including conferences, sports, culinary, music and other aspects of our living heritage as a part of their national marketing strategies,” remarked Matus, who is responsible for large-scale destination management projects throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Not only is events management growing in Trinidad, but according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the field is slated to grow by 10 percent over the next several years.
Students enroll in the program for a number of reasons. Either they’re in the field and eager to advance professionally or they are interested in launching a new career. Karen Sylvester-Bourne has always enjoyed entertaining. When her daughter decided to get married, Karen volunteered to host the wedding. Encouraged by the results, she decided to enroll in the program and make a career of party planning. “I learned to interact with people, to conduct business professionally and to follow the guidelines when it comes to meeting client needs,” she said, reflecting on what she most valued about her experience.
Arthur Lok graduates have gone on to plan events for companies, to start their own events management companies and to become program faculty members. Click here to learn more and to enroll in the Arthur Lok program of Events Management.