While the annual celebration of Saint Lucia’s Nobel Laureate Festival (NLF) takes on a different mode this year due to COVID-19, nonetheless, organisers say the ‘spirit and significance’ of the month-long activities have not been diminished.
The NLF committee launched the 28th edition of the celebrations, on Wednesday, in honour of the recognition bestowed on the island’s two esteemed Laureates – Sir Arthur Lewis (in 1979) and Sir Derek Walcott (in 1992). They were recognized for their global input in the respective fields of Science and Economics, and Literature.
The theme for this year’s celebrations is: Celebrating Excellence – Challenge, Uncertainty, and Opportunity.
Chair of the NLF Committee, Dame Pearlette Louisy explained that the sub-theme for this year’s celebrations was inspired by the challenges confronting the world over the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“A challenge confronts the one who seeks to expand the boundaries of his beloved endeavour,” Dame Pearlette noted. “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.”
She added, “And this is the driving force behind the pursuit and achievement of excellence, and both of our Laureates would have been all too familiar with that process.”
Dame Pearlette said the “reward of that journey is what we celebrate in this annual festival. It is the encouragement we really want to offer all those on that journey.”
The NLF chairperson stated that the ideal intention is to “confront the challenge, circumvent the uncertainty and by all means seize the opportunity.”
Amongst the major sponsors is the Bank of St Lucia (BOSL), which has been a staunch supporter of the festival over the past decade. The bank continues to lend its support to the initiative and this year presented a monetary contribution of $5,000.
BOSL’s corporate secretary, Estherlita Cumberbatch noted that “The achievements of our Nobel Laureates is a clear testament to our potential, and showcasing the works as we are doing through this commendable initiative – the NLF Committee goes a long way in building the confidence of our nation, particularly, the young population so they too can aspire to the highest level of their respective fields of endeavour.”
Cumberbatch implored, “May this observance continue to inspire the academic, creative, and artistic pursuits of our young people.”
The Sir Arthur Lewis Community College [SALCC] has played an integral role in highlighting the works of the island’s laureates providing a platform for academic discourse and theatrical productions.
The SALCC will unveil a new edition to this year’s activities with the formal opening of the Sir Derek Walcott Library, which will house an impressive collection of his works donated.
Acting Librarian at the Hunter J Francois Library, SALCC, Catherine Birch-Mc Diarmed outlined the format of the presentations to be displayed at the institution. “Keeping with this year’s theme, our planned activities focus on encouraging us a college to convert contemporary challenges and uncertainties into opportunities,” she said.
According to the SALCC staffer, the college’s first activity is a virtual academic discourse, which takes place on January, 20 …from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Financial Administrative Centre. Panelists will explore prospects for the ‘Blue Economy’ and discuss “the ways in which academia, entrepreneurs and state agencies can work together to maximize on the burgeoning activities.”
Other activities will include; a virtual tour of Walcott Place, situated on Chaussee Road, from January 11 to 31.
From January 20 to 31, the St Lucia Archives will open up its annual display in observance of National Archives Month.
National Archivist at the entity, Margot Thomas explained that the exhibition will be held under the theme: “With writers, arrangers, producers music takes flight and singing begins.”
Thomas added: “The exhibition places the spotlight on the writers, producers, and arrangers who work or have worked behind the scenes to add to the repertoire of St Lucia’s ‘One Love’ songs.”
She said the display will incorporate a range of music genres from calypso, gospel, ballads, soca, and so on; to showcase the works of these persons who may not have been popularly known by the general public.
Other entities, such as the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) and others will join to host activities in celebration of the island’s Laureates during the festival.