Recipients of honorary doctorates call on UG to undertake its role as the independent academia
DPI, Guyana, Saturday, November 10, 2018
The University of Guyana for the first time conferred four honorary doctorates to distinguished Guyanese during its 52nd convocation ceremony held at the National Cultural Centre, Georgetown.
The Chancellor, Professor Eon Harris, conferred Doctor of Letters to Eddy Grant for excellence in music and civic engagement, Yesu Persaud received iconic leadership in business and banking, Jairaj Sobhraj for excellence in entrepreneurship and philanthropy and Laura George for outstanding community development and advocacy.
George, in her acceptance speech, charged the University to commit to strategically and significantly undertake its role as the independent academia to produce correct information on the history of Guyana.
“The time is here for us to rewrite our own history using an inclusive and collective approach for our future generations to know about the struggles, failures and resilience as a nation, to guide where we should be headed in influencing national policy,” George said.
George also encouraged the University to push for leading Indigenous scholars to teach at the university’s campus and encouraged the use of publications by Indigenous people.
She is a pioneer of the Amerindian People’s Association (APA) and currently serves as the organisation’s Governance and Rights Coordinator. She is also an alternative representative for the Indigenous Peoples on the Multi-Stakeholder Group for the Guyana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GYEITI)
George, an Akawaio from Phillipi, Region Seven has been a passionate advocate for Indigenous rights and worked with Indigenous communities on several issues throughout Guyana.
Similarly, legendary musician Eddy Grant, charged the University’s leadership to make space to advance technical and vocational skills in Guyana.
“We must Vice Chancellor, somewhere in this august society that you call University of Guyana, make available some space that those who are not gifted with intellectual capacity … can master the elements, the compounds to bring about a great social renaissance in Guyana so much that we can export it,” Grant said.
Grant, who was raised in Plaisance, East Coast Demerara was honoured for being at the forefront of genres and creating his own: ringbang in the music industry. His chart-topping “Electric Avenue” is among a string of hit music Grant created while residing in the United Kingdom. He is also a passionate supporter of artists’ rights.
Meanwhile, Yesu Persaud reminded all at the ceremony that for Guyana to move forward we must all work together.
“If we want to build a nation we have to work together, start thinking together and build institutions. Nothing happens unless you make it happen,” Persaud said.
Persaud retired as the chairman of the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) and is credited for the conception of the Demerara Bank and founding the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED) among a distinguished list of business achievements. He is a believer in the virtues and effectiveness of private enterprise and free market in human development.
Images: Jameel Mohamed and Keno George.