JIS News

A book highlighting the life and achievements of Ambassador the Honourable Dr. Lucille Mathurin Mair, was recently presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

Dr. Mathurin Mair was a scholar, diplomat and women’s rights activist. She was the second female Minister of State in the Ministry and served in that capacity from 1989 to 1992.

The publication, written by Social Historian Professor Verene Shepherd, was presented to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, at a simple ceremony held on Thursday (August 12) at the Ministry’s headquarters in Kingston.

In her remarks, Senator Johnson Smith referred to Dr Mair as one of the trailblazers for women in politics, and in the local and international civil service.

“I cannot elaborate enough on the work and advocacy which she undertook at home and abroad, to achieve so much personally and professionally,” she said.

The Senator highlighted the role played by Dr. Mair through her work at the United Nations (UN) in advancing the gender perspective. She said that Dr. Mair served as Assistant Secretary-General at the UN in 1979, Secretary-General for the World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women in 1980, and Special Advisor to UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) on Women and Development from 1981 to 1982. Dr. Mair also became the first woman to hold the position of Under Secretary-General of the UN in 1982.

“I am confident that Dr. Mair’s legacy has also helped inspire the UN’s encouragement to member states, to pay keen attention to the matter of gender when electing members to international organisations,” Minister Johnson Smith added.

She stated that Dr Mair’s legacy inspired the Jamaican Government in the selection of female candidates to international organisations.

She noted that over the last five years, the Ministry has assisted with the election of Ms. Carleen Gardner to the International Civil Service Commission in 2018, Professor Shepherd, to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in 2019, and Dr. Kathy-Ann Brown to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in 2020.

The Senator praised the work by Dr. Mair and other female leaders, who have advanced the cause of gender equality.

“I am gratified that the hard work undertaken by courageous women before us, such as Dr. Mair, is bearing fruit.  Our women are more educated than they have ever been and are represented in all spheres, including as business and political leaders,” she added.

Minister Johnson Smith also lauded the work done by the author of the book, Professor Shepherd.

“We are truly pleased that you have dedicated your time and your academic rigour to highlight and preserve the legacy of this great Jamaican woman,” she said, adding that the book will go a far way in motivating Jamaican women, girls, and men “to work together to achieve gender equity, and to foster more mature approaches to development.”

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