Press Release:-Castries, 11 January 2017: The Nobel Laureate Festival Committee (NLFC) launched Nobel Laureate Festival 2017 to the national media at Government House on January 10, introducing this year’s theme: “Celebrating Excellence: Fostering National Pride”. Speaking on this year’s theme, the Chair of the Committee, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, explained:
‘Fostering national pride is not a pipe dream or a balm to soothe or sugar-coat the challenges that we are currently facing as a nation. It is an affirmation that we have in us the seed of greatness, the potential to excel, and to compete successfully with the world’s best.
Many of us seem to have given in to the belief that we do not have much to offer to our community, our nation or to the world; that our place and our destiny is to be followers, not leaders. This I think, is probably the reason why many have been content, or have forced others, to hide our light under the proverbial bushel, while we yearn to live, if only, vicariously in the reflected light of others. Our two Nobel Laureates have shown us and have shown the world that this need not be so.”
The activities are funded in part by the Government of Saint Lucia, but during the media launch a cheque presentation was made by Mrs Arletta Huntley-Wells, Country Manager of First Citizens Investment Services Limited. The Association of Caribbean States, (ACS), through the intermediary of its Secretary General, Dr. June Soomer, a former member of the Festival Committee, has also pledged assistance, having recognised “the importance of the event that continues “Celebrating Excellence” by honouring the talent and successes of Caribbean persons.”
In keeping with the ACS’s mandate to foster collaboration in the areas of culture and education, Dr. Soomer’s letter confirmed the ACS pledge of US$10,000 to help plan and facilitate Nobel Laureate Festival 2017.
The NLFC Chair, H.E. Dame Pearlette Louisy, acknowledged the pledge as a very timely contribution as the Committee has had to work over the past few years with a decrease in the annual budget. She added that the Committee would like the public to know that, “we are St Lucians wherever we are. In this regard, it hopes to work closely with ACS and other organisations and with the Caribbean diaspora to assist in celebrating our achievements.
The traditional Derek Walcott Lecture will be presented this year by the Professor of African and American Studies in Residence at Harvard University, Antiguan-born Professor Jamaica Kincaid, (January 24).
The Sir Arthur Lewis Memorial Lecture was to have been presented by Sir Dwight Venner. In its place, a Panel Discussion will be held on January 31 on the topic “The Responses of Small States to Emerging Global Threats and Challenges”. The Lead Presenter will be Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS Commission with other panelists to include Dr. JanEve Remy, Dr. Kwame Venner, Senator Mauricia Thomas-Francis and Mr. Anthony Severin. Other events include the Wreath-laying Ceremony at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (27 January), panel discussions in Vieux Fort and Dennery, Excellence Awards, Events showcasing the literary and performing arts, and a themed event inspired by Walcott’s “A City’s Death by fire” on Rat Island (4 February).