The United States (U.S.) Congress has posthumously honoured the late Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Rex Nettleford O.M. for his outstanding contribution to Jamaica, the Caribbean and the U.S.
A congressional proclamation issued by U.S. Congresswoman, Ms. Yvette Clarke, was presented to UWI Chancellor, Sir George Alleyne, at a memorial service held on March 7 at Dunbarton Chapel on the Howard University campus in Washington DC.
The proclamation, which was read by Ambassador Curtis Ward on behalf of Congresswoman Clarke stated: “on behalf of the United States House of Representatives, I salute Rex Nettleford for his service and dedication to our community and highlight that his positive and legendary contributions are what make our nation great, and I bestow upon you the highest honour as a Member of the 111th Session of Congress.”
Jamaica’s Ambassador the United States, His Excellency Anthony Johnson, delivers Prime Minister Hon. Bruce Golding’s tribute at a service commemorating the life of late Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies, Professor Rex Nettleford, held on March 7 at Dunbarton Chapel on the campus of Howard University, Washington DC.
In paying tribute to Professor Nettleford, the UWI Chancellor described him as a man with a “passion for people, a passion for perfection in whatever he did and a passion to perfect the perception of our people about their proper and rightful pride in themselves and their intrinsic worth.”
He said that the UWI and the Caribbean are indebted to the late Professor for his insistence that cultural studies should have a proper place in academia, noting that it was Professor Nettleford, who created the university’s cultural studies programme. “Rex was impatient with the view that culture was a characteristic of the privileged and that cultural expression did not involve and permeate almost all if not all of our activities,” Sir George stated.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, in his tribute read by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the U.S., His Excellency Anthony Johnson, said that “Rex Nettleford was that never-failing servant of his nation and his region, who was called upon so many times to take up responsibilities where his respected knowledge and authority and his intellectual integrity were important. There were so many occasions when something of great importance needed to be done and the answer was, “Let Rex do it.”
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Hon. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, pays tribute to the late Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies, Professor Rex Nettleford, at a memorial service held on March 7 at Dunbarton Chapel on the campus of Howard University, Washington DC.
While noting that the late Professor will be missed by many, Prime Minister Golding said that “there is much about the life of the Hon. Rex Nettleford that can never die. The bridges he has built that have enabled our minds to travel beyond their self-imposed boundaries, the confidence he has inspired us to have in ourselves. mindful of our failures but triumphant in our successes and energised by the vast horizon of opportunity that is before us, if only we would see clearly now.”
Ambassador Johnson in his own tribute stated that many Jamaicans, irrespective of where they live, had fond memories of this outstanding son of Jamaica, who was loved and respected by nationals all over the world. The void, which his death has created, he said, cannot be filled, and the region will be poorer for his passing.
Tributes to Professor Nettleford were also paid by member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Hon. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam and Professor Eleanor Traylor of Howard University.
The two-hour long memorial service, organised by the Embassy of Jamaica in association with the UWI Alumni Association of Washington DC, was attended by members of the Caribbean diplomatic corps, members of local government in Washington DC and Maryland, representatives of academia and the various Caribbean and Jamaican organisations, and a wide cross-section of the Jamaican community from the Washington metropolitan area.
Proceeds from the memorial service will benefit the Rex Nettleford Foundation for Caribbean Cultural and Social Studies, which will support research by outstanding post-graduate students and fellows in areas championed by the late professor.