Curaçao is an island strategically situated in the Caribbean Sea just off the coast of the South American mainland. A polyglot society, it boasts more than 60 different nationalities, living and working harmoniously on a 171 square-mile territory. As part of the erstwhile political entity the Netherlands Antilles, the island became an Overseas Country of the European Economic Community in 1964. Historically a trade enclave, today the island’s economic mainstay is centered around tourism, oil refining, financial services and ship repair.
As acting Representative of the Government of Curaçao to the European Union for the past two years and a member of OCTA’s Executive Committee, Ann Philipps, has been advocating a vision of an internationally focused future for her island. This makes the most of Curaçao’s natural assets; a multi-ethnic and multi cultural population speaking several languages and a good strategic position for trade. At the same time, it recognizes the need to forge strong international partnerships and improve the quality of its human capital through an internationally-oriented educational system. This vision for the future was reflected in the theme of Curaçao’s OCTA chairmanship, ‘building strategic partnerships for sustainable development’.