Port of Spain, TRINIDAD and TOBAGO (October 21, 2019). The Eric Williams Memorial Collection Research Library, Archives & Museum (EWMC) at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Trinidad and Tobago, announces the adjudication of this year’s “Eric Williams ‘School Bags’ Essay Competition.” Judges are: Dr. Rita Pemberton, retired Chair, UWI Department of History; Dr. Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Director, Center for Jefferson Studies, University of Virginia; and Dr. Dexnell Peters, Bennet Boskey Fellow in Atlantic Studies, Oxford University. Dr. Peters was the winner of the 2007 inaugural Essay Competition.

As the specter of global warming, denied by a very few scientists and even fewer politicians, becomes a clear and present danger to humanity, this year’s topic asks students to prepare a public address to Caribbean governments offering strategies as a region on how to effectively deal with its consequences.

Throughout his life, Dr. Eric Williams, noted scholar/historian and the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, gave special emphasis to learning. “To educate is to emancipate.” On August 30, 1962, the eve of his country’s Independence from Britain, he exhorted:

“You, the children, yours is the great responsibility to educate your parents, teach them to live together in harmony…To your tender and loving hands, the future of the Nation is entrusted. In your innocent hearts, the pride of the Nation is enshrined. On your scholastic development, the salvation of the Nation is dependent…you carry the future of [the Nation] in your school bags.”

The contest has been offered to all Lower and Upper Sixth Form (CAPE or equivalent) students in: Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos – some 177 schools. It is being held through December 15, 2019. Winners will be announced on January 31, 2020.

The first prize winner will receive a four-day trip for two to Trinidad and Tobago with airfare, hotel accommodations and per diem allowance; a tour of The Eric Williams Memorial Collection and University of the West Indies campus; a US $1000 educational voucher; courtesy calls on the Prime Minster of Trinidad and Tobago and the Speaker of the House of Representatives; a tour of Parliament; a set of Eric Williams’ books, a Digicel DL smart phone; an interview on UWI TV; radio and TV interviews in various Caribbean countries, depending on the winner’s residence; and a framed certificate. In the event of a Trinidad and Tobago winner, a trip to another Caribbean territory will be substituted, as well as appropriate tours.

The winning essay will also be published in: Miami, Florida’s Caribbean Today newspaper; CARICOM’s newsletter; The Trinidad Express newspaper; and UWI’s Pelican magazine. A link to the latter will be publicized in Caribbean Airlines’ inflight magazine, Caribbean Beat, and a photograph and blurb of the winner will appear in the Journal of African American History.

Patrons of the Eric Williams Memorial Collection’s ‘School Bags’ Essay Competition are: Banwari Experience; Caribbean Airlines; Caribbean Beat Magazine; Caribbean Development Bank; Caribbean Horizons Tours; Caribbean Today; CARICOM; Digicel Trinidad & Tobago, Ltd.; Hyatt Regency, Trinidad; Journal of African American History; LIAT (1974) Ltd.; One Caribbean Media, Ltd.; Trinidad and Tobago’s Office of the Prime Minister, Parliament and Speaker of the House of Representatives; True Blue Bay Boutique Resort; UNESCO; University of the West Indies; UWI TV.

The Eric Williams Memorial Collection Research Library, Archives & Museum was inaugurated by former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in 1998, and named to UNESCO’s prestigious Memory of the World Register in 1999.

For more information, please contact Erica Williams Connell, The Eric Williams Memorial Collection P.O. Box 561631, Miami, FL 33256-1631, USA. Fax: (305) 271-4160; Website: www.ericwilliamsmemorialcollection.org.


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