Virtual Symposium to Honor Life and Legacy of Nobel Prize Winner Sir Arthur Lewis
The CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC) in collaboration with the Saint Lucia National Reparations Committee and the Nobel Laureates Festival Committee will convene a virtual symposium on 15 June involving a number of prominent scholars, economists and public officials who will pay tribute to Saint Lucian-born economist and Nobel prize winner, Sir William Arthur Lewis. The symposium will commence at 9:30 am (EST) and will be livestreamed on uwitv.org, the website of UWItv Global.
The symposium is one of the CRC’s outreach activities for 2020 to raise awareness of the regional reparations agenda and to focus on the 200 years of unpaid labour referenced by Lewis as the basis for reparatory justice, and as a foundation for independent, sustainable development across the Caribbean. June 15, 2020 will mark the 29th anniversary of the passing of Sir William Arthur Lewis who was the Caribbean’s first Nobel Prize winner.
“My colleagues and I at the CARICOM Reparations Commission are delighted to sponsor this virtual symposium to honor the life and legacy of one of the Caribbean’s most esteemed sons,” said Prof. Sir Hilary Beckles, chairman of the CRC. “This symposium will seek to raise public awareness of the regional reparations agenda and to highlight Lewis’s seminal work titled ‘Labour in the West Indies’ as the foundation for the current reparations movement in the region.”
At the time of his retirement in 1983, Lewis was a professor of political economy at Princeton University. In 1979 he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. In 1959, he was appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies and in 1963 he was knighted for his contributions to economics.
An exceptionally brilliant student, Lewis was the first black person to ever gain acceptance at the London School of Economics (LSE), one of the world’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning for economics. He went on to receive his PhD from LSE.
He served as an economic adviser to numerous African and Caribbean governments. When Ghana gained independence from Britain in 1957, the Kwame Nkrumah government appointed Lewis as its first economic adviser and he helped draw up the country’s first Five-Year Development Plan.
In 1970 Lewis was selected as the first President of the Caribbean Development Bank, serving in that capacity until 1973. Today, his portrait appears on the Eastern Caribbean hundred dollar bill.
The so-called “Lewis Model” combined an analysis of the historical experience of developed countries with the central ideas of the classical economists to produce a broad picture of the development process.
“The Saint Lucia National Reparations Committee (NRC) wishes to sincerely thank all who worked with us to make the 2020 Sir William Arthur Lewis Symposium possible. We urge Saint Lucia and the entire regional and global community to tune-in and participate in this event that will honour Sir. W. Arthur Lewis,” said Earl Bousquet, Chairman of St. Lucia’s NRC.
“We also wish to thank Professor Sir Hilary Beckles for his intellectual authorship, the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC), the UWI’s Reparations Research Center (RRC), the CARICOM Secretariat, the Saint Lucia Nobel Laureates Festival Committee, the SALIS National Preparatory Committee (NPC), the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) and UWI Open Campus in Saint Lucia, with special thanks to Governor General Emeritus (GGE) Dame Pearlette Louisy, Saint Lucia’s Ambassador to CARICOM and OECS Elma Gene Isaac and the Regional Integration Unit (RIU) of the Office of the Prime Minister, whose critical inputs were all absolutely essential to planning and execution of this historic event of international import,” added Bousquet.