Tuesday, February 2nd 2021, marked the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of the Saint Lucia National Commission for UNESCO. The Commission was established on 2nd February 1981, following Saint Lucia’s membership to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), shortly after its independence in 1979.
The National Commission is a semi-autonomous agency, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, mandated with the functions of “liaison, consultation, programme formulation, execution and evaluation” in keeping with the UNESCO Constitution and the UNESCO Charter of National Commissions.
The Commission serves as a liaison between UNESCO and the Member State and advises Government on all matters related to UNESCO. It is responsible for the elaboration and implementation of UNESCO’s programmes and activities and coordinates the execution of projects at the national level. The Commission also plays a key advocacy role in ensuring that the development needs of Saint Lucia, the wider Caribbean and SIDS are reflected in UNESCO’s Programme and Budget.
Over the past forty years the National Commission has made a tremendous contribution to Saint Lucia’s development agenda by facilitating international cooperation and bi-lateral collaboration in UNESCO’s fields of competence (education, culture, science and information and communication). The Commission is pleased to have collaborated with national, regional and international partners on several initiatives over the years including:
- The attainment of World Heritage Status for the Soufriere Pitons Management Area
- The inscription of the Sir Arthur Lewis papers on the International Memory of the World register
- The inscription of the Roderick Walcott collection on the regional Memory of the World register and the establishment of the Roderick Walcott collection at the UWI Open Campus
- The global celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sir William Arthur Lewis by UNESCO
- The establishment of the Soufriere Community Radio (Soufriere FM) under the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC)
- The provision of support in the area of policy development for the Saint Lucia Cultural policy, the Saint Lucia TVET policy, the Saint Lucia National Language policy etc.
- Training and Capacity building in all of UNESCO’s fields of competence and
- The provision of funding support for many development projects throughout Saint Lucia.
This anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on these and many other past accomplishments while positioning the organization to embrace new possibilities to adapt to changing modalities and new realities. As it celebrates this milestone anniversary, the National Commission wishes also to honour the many individuals who have, over the years, put their efforts, energy and expertise to the service of the organisation.
We recognize the immense contribution of our Chairpersons (past and present): Honourable Kenny D. Anthony (first Chairperson), Mr. Hilary Modeste, Ms. Marguerita Alexander, Mr. Louis George, Honourable Justice Mario Michel, Mr. Arsene James, Dr. Robert Lewis and Honourable Gale T.C. Rigobert (current Chairperson).
We honour the selfless and dedicated service of our former Secretaries General: Mrs. Aldith Issac, Ms. Lawrence Laurent, Mrs. Shery Alexander-Heinis, and Mrs. Paule Turmel-John. We acknowledge the hard work of the staff of the National Commission Secretariat (past and present) who, with limited resources but great commitment and motivation, have contributed to the many achievements and successes of the Commission. We express sincere appreciation to the many individuals who have served on the various sub-commissions over these forty years for sharing
their expertise and advice in their respective fields. We also thank our many corporate partners for their commitment to the work of the Commission and for supporting our many initiatives.
On behalf of the Chairperson of the Saint Lucia National Commission, Dr Gale T.C. Rigobert and on my own behalf, we say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our partners and collaborators. We look forward to our continued collaboration in advancing the interests of our people and our nation.
In observance of this milestone anniversary, the Saint Lucia National Commission for UNESCO has planned a number of activities beginning with the launch of its 40th Anniversary Theme and Logo Competition.
The winning entry from this competition will serve as the official theme and logo and for the Commission’s year-long programme of activities.