Sir Arthur Lewis Cen­te­nary Cel­e­bra­tions

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Lead­ing thinker and pi­o­neer in de­vel­op­ment eco­nomics, Sir Arthur Lewis would have been 100 years old yes­ter­day Jan­uary 23, 2015. Although he died more than two decades ago, his work con­tin­ues to gen­er­ate global in­ter­est, par­tic­u­larly in the field of de­vel­op­ment eco­nomics and with re­spect to the out­comes of in­sti­tu­tions and na­tions which have suc­cess­fully ap­plied poli­cies which he pro­posed.

In recog­ni­tion of his ge­nius, achieve­ments, and con­tin­u­ing rel­e­vance of his work, the Caribbean De­vel­op­ment Bank (CDB) and the Univer­sity of the West Indies (UWI) will ob­serve the W. Arthur Lewis Cen­te­nary through­out 2015 un­der the theme: “En­dur­ing Lessons for the Caribbean and Beyond.”

The Cen­te­nary’s ob­ser­va­tion was launched at the CDB’s head­quar­ters on Novem­ber 17 and in­cluded re­flec­tions and dis­cus­sions on: “The Man”, “His Work and Legacy” and Lewis as a “Caribbean Thinker.”

Kick-start­ing the year’s ac­tiv­i­ties was the 16th An­nual Con­fer­ence of the Sir Arthur Lewis In­sti­tute of So­cial and Eco­nomic Stud­ies (SALISES), cel­e­brated as the W. Arthur Lewis Cen­ten­nial un­der the theme: “To­wards Caribbean Pros­per­ity and Hap­pi­ness in an Eq­ui­table and Sus­tain­able World,” held Jan­uary 14-16, 2015 in St. Lu­cia.

Speak­ers at the launch were Dr. Wil­liam War­ren Smith, Pres­i­dent of the CDB; Pro­fes­sor Sir Hi­lary Beck­les, Pro-Vice Chan­cel­lor and Prin­ci­pal of UWI’s Cave Hill Cam­pus, Bar­ba­dos; Pro­fes­sor Comp­ton Bourne, fourth pres­i­dent of the CDB and cur­rently Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Caribbean Cen­tre for Money and Fi­nance at UWI’s St. Au­gus­tine Cam­pus, Trinidad & Tobago; Sir Neville Ni­cholls, third pres­i­dent of the CDB; and Pro­fes­sor Mark Figueroa, Pro­fes­so­rial Fel­low, (SALISES) at the UWI’s, Mona Cam­pus.

Dr. Smith de­scribed Sir Arthur as a prag­ma­tist who made a great con­tri­bu­tion to re­gional de­vel­op­ment.

Sir Arthur Lewis was the found­ing pres­i­dent of the Caribbean De­vel­op­ment Bank serv­ing from 1970 to 1973. He also had the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the first West In­dian to be ap­pointed Prin­ci­pal of the Univer­sity Col­lege of the West Indies at Mona in 1959.

Un­der his lead­er­ship, the Col­lege was trans­formed into the Univer­sity of the West Indies as an in­de­pen­dent univer­sity in 1962. He be­came its first Vice Chan­cel­lor.

On the im­por­tance of the Cen­te­nary and re­mem­ber­ing Sir Arthur Lewis, Pro­fes­sor Figueroa said: “It is im­por­tant to get peo­ple to un­der­stand Sir Arthur Lewis and his con­tri­bu­tion not so much for any of the par­tic­u­lar pro­pos­als which he made but be­cause of the spirit of con­fi­dence with which he ap­proached the fu­ture and the method­olo­gies that he adopted.

“In do­ing so he demon­strated that what­ever one’s sit­u­a­tion may be, one can iden­tify a path for­ward that can lead to the res­o­lu­tion of the great­est of prob­lems. This is pre­cisely the spirit that we need to­day as we grap­ple with the chal­lenges faced by Caribbean so­ci­eties.”

On Thurs­day Jan­uary 22 a wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mony for Sir Arthur Lewis took place here. It formed part of ac­tiv­i­ties for Nobel Lau­re­ate Week in honor of Sir Arthur and Derek Wal­cott the Nobel Lau­re­ate for Lit­er­a­ture. Both men were born on Jan­uary 23.

(Photo by Bill Mort­ley)

Mr. Janai Leonce, an economist from the Min­istry of Fi­nance, de­liv­ers an ad­dress at the wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mony com­mem­o­rat­ing the Cen­te­nary of the birth of the Caribbean’s first Nobel Lau­re­ate Sir Arthur Lewis.

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