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Reggae icon, Robert Nesta Marley has been described as one of the most creative persons of all time to have influenced the world of popular music.
Brazil’s Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil made the observation as he accepted the Bob Marley Award for outstanding achievement in the area of Art and Culture from the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI), at the Foundation’s annual benefit gala held in New York recently.
According to Minister Gil, “Bob Marley’s encompassing activities in music and cultural politics gave his work a dimension never found before”.
“His legacy transcends racial, religious and cultural boundaries to penetrate deep inside hearts and minds all over this planet of beauty and tragedy. His music continues to sound eloquently across the battlefields of this troubled world,” he added.
Mr. Gil, whose hard line socio-political activism landed him in a Brazilian jail in the late l960s, credits much of his cultural stylings to the influence of Bob Marley, noting that, “Marley established a unique pattern of mind-setting and policymaking attitudes for the 20th Century and beyond”.
Patron at the gala, Harry Belafonte, OJ, in presenting the award to Minister Gil, said that both Mr. Marley and Mr. Gil had a profound impact on the 20th Century.
The Vice Chancellor of the UWI Award, “which recognizes deserving individuals of Caribbean heritage who are ‘rising stars’ in their respective fields or brought to prominence, issues that affect the Caribbean”, was presented to Christopher Roberts, Christopher Cowan, Averell Elliott, Laurine Fenton, Paula Madison and Robert Riley.
Vice Chancellor of the UWI, Dr. E. Nigel Harris said that the awardees exemplified in every way, the characteristics that the UWI “wishes to imbue in its student body”.
Also attending the event were Vice Chancellor Emiritus of the UWI, Professor Rex Nettleford and Sir Shridath Ramphal.
The AFUWI was established in 1956 as a non-profit organization and serves as the primary vehicle for the University’s fund-raising overseas.