Celebrating Nobel Laureates Sir Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott

THIS year’s annual Nobel Laureate Festival (NLF) will take on an unprecedented ‘digital production’ in keeping with regulatory protocols geared to safeguard against the coronavirus.

At Wednesday’s media launch, an interesting schedule of activities was presented with presenters urging wider public participation in the programmes.

Organizers are looking forward to motivate and inspire persons to keep on striving for success in their endeavours.

The sub-theme for this year NLF is aptly termed – Celebrating Excellence: Challenge, Uncertainty, and Opportunity. The festival will run from January 6 to 31.

“We are all in it together, so join us, join in and let’s celebrate,” declared Dame Pearlette Louisy, chairperson of the Nobel Laureate Festival Committee (NLFC) during a presentation from the NTN (National television Network) Studios.

She added: “Our sub-theme this year… has been inspired by the challenge we have had to confront during the past year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sub-theme aptly describes the environment in which this year’s Festival is being observed.”

The NLFC chair continued, “More significantly, however, it embodies the very elements which drive the creative process that ends in excellence. A challenge confronts the one who seeks to expand the boundaries of his field of endeavour; there is a certain measure of uncertainty as he presses on, but the opportunity to make a contribution, whether big or small, cannot be missed.”

Image of Sir Arthur Lewis
Sir Arthur Lewis

Following in the footsteps of the Nobel Laureates – Sir Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott who blazed the trail in pursuit of achievement and excellence that they exemplified, Dame Pearlette asserted that the encouragement offered to “all those on that journey” is to “confront the challenge, circumvent the uncertainty, and by all means seize the opportunity.”

According to Dame Pearlette, celebrating the island’s two Nobel Laureates “is therefore a good way to demonstrate that we are confident that we have what it takes to lead the world in our chosen spheres of endeavour.”

She also made a plea for educators, students, and the public at large to get more involved in the NLF activities and to use this avenue as an opportunity to do research and gain more knowledge of the outstanding works and legacy left behind by the two Nobel Laureates.

Image of Sir Derek Walcott
Sir Derek Walcott

The former governor general noted that since the Caribbean has recognised that the Nobel Prize does not make provisions for “the many ways in which we can and have excelled, and so the ANSA MCAL Foundation has instituted the Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence to recognise and help us celebrate Caribbean people who have excelled in their fields of endeavour.”

She added: “And would you know it? Saint Lucia obviously believes in the power of two. We are therefore proud to celebrate as well during this Nobel Laureate Festival our two Caribbean Laureates in Arts and Letters: Dr. Adrian Augier, who will be presenting the Sir Derek Walcott Memorial Lecture this year, and Jalim Eudovique, the sculptor, both of whom have established themselves as pioneers in their fields.”

Now in its 28th year, the Committee has had to adapt its presentations to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols. Consequently, it disclosed that some events such as the two Nobel Laureate Memorial Lectures will have limited in-person attendance. However, all of these events will be accessible online, via Zoom and Facebook Live.

Programme Director at the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) Drenia Frederick stressed that this year’s annual Derek Walcott Lecture presentation will focus, amongst other issues, literature accessibility to the wider audience.

The National Archives has been integrally involved in the NLF celebrations and according to executive director Margot Thomas, a grand exhibition will highlight this year’s display to showcase the works of local artistes. In addition, she said, there will be the unveiling of new portraits.

This year’s programme includes:
Sir Derek Walcott Memorial Lecture (Tuesday 19 January, Finance Administrative Centre, 7:30 p.m.) delivered by Dr. Adrian Augier

Caribbean Laureate in Arts and Letters and The Sir Arthur Lewis Memorial Lecture (Thursday 21 January, Finance Administrative Centre, 7:30 p.m.) delivered by Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee, Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies at The UWI Mona Campus

Both lectures to be presented by Saint Lucian nationals will be recorded by NTN for broadcast, and transmission on Facebook Live.

The Saint Lucia National Archives Authority located at Vigie will open its annual Exhibition (Wednesday 20 January – 31 March.) It will remain open to the public from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday in observance of National Archives Month.

Walcott Place, managed by the St. Lucia National Trust, will provide a virtual online tour of the Facility from 11-31 January. The Sir Arthur Lewis Community College will be offering its usual programme of activities. A new addition this year will be the opening of the Sir Derek Walcott Library which will house his impressive collection donated by Ms. Sigrid Nama.

Other events on the Festival’s Calendar include; theatrical productions by Dramacan and the SALCC Creative and Per-forming Arts Club, the Patricia Ismond Literary Workshop offered by The Open Campus, St. Lucia and radio and television interviews and discussions on local media stations and UWItv.

[Zoom links and programmes will be available on the Facebook page @NobelLaureateFestival:Saint Lucia and by request to the Coordinator at [email protected] or on WhatsApp +1 758 717-7979].

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