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The governing Council of The University of the West Indies (UWI) has approved a proposal from the Rhodes Trust to establish in the Caribbean the Rex Nettleford Prize in Cultural Studies, on a permanent basis, tenable at the UWI. The Prize was proposed by the Rhodes Trustees as an appropriate way to mark the centenary of the Rhodes Scholarships in the Caribbean. It is intended to honour Professor Nettleford’s contribution to higher education and to the cultural life of the Caribbean, and to nurture talent in the Caribbean in these areas.

Council accepted with acclamation the proposal to establish the prize and noted that this would appropriately ensure that Professor Nettleford’s contribution would be permanently recorded in the annals of the University and that his name and work would live on in perpetuity world-wide.

Council agreed that the holder of the award will be named the Rex Nettleford Fellow in Cultural Studies. The Prize will be awarded annually to a resident of the Caribbean under the age of 35. Award holders may pursue all areas of scholarship in the field of cultural studies, including work in the creative arts. The value of the award will be Ten Thousand pounds with an associated travel grant of Two thousand pounds. The award holder will be expected to give a number of public lectures and will be expected to use the tenure of the award either to complete an existing piece of work or to develop a new project.

Council also approved the logistics of the selection process for the award. Candidates will be selected by a panel of five members: two nominated by the Rhodes Trustees, namely Lord Waldegrave, Chairman of the Trustees and Dr. John Rowett, current Warden of Rhodes House and the Secretary General-designate of the Association of Commonwealth Universities; Professor Nettleford himself and two distinguished persons in the intellectual and cultural life of the Caribbean, nominated by him.

The announcement of the winner will be at a special event hosted on behalf of the Trustees by the Secretary of the Rhodes Trust in the Caribbean, currently Mr. Peter Goldson. The award ceremony will be held at The University of the West Indies.

The request for approval of the prize was contained in a letter from the Chief Executive of the Rhodes Trust, Dr. John Rowlett. He pointed out that the Rhodes Trustees had marked the centenary of the Rhodes Trust by the establishment of a partnership with former President Mandela to create the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. The new foundation was dedicated to building exceptional leadership capacity on the African continent, to the promotion of a better life for the people of Africa and to returning to Africa something of the wealth taken from Africa which originally enabled the creation of the Rhodes Trust.

Dr. Rowett said that at the same time, the Rhodes Trust had been concerned to find appropriate ways to mark the centenary of the Rhodes Scholarships in the Caribbean. As part of that process, a new paiaanting was commissioned from Barrington Watson of Norman Manley, one of the earliest as well as one of the most distinguished Jamaican Rhodes Scholars. The Trustees had also resolved to establish the Rex Nettleford Prize in Cultural Studies in the Caribbean, in order to more substantively mark the centenary.

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