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The University of Warwick names Centre for Caribbean Studies in honour of Yesu Persaud

Yesu PersaudThe University of Warwick has renamed  its Centre for Caribbean Studies the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies in honour of the Guyanese philanthropist and businessman. The year 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Centre, one of Europe’s leading institutions for Caribbean scholarship.

Guyanese born Professor David Dabydeen, who proposed the renaming, said:

 “ This is an act of great significance in the Caribbean. Many of our Centre’s staff and fellows  have examined how  in the 19th century hundreds of thousands of Indians were shipped to Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica, to cut cane, as indentured labourers, replacing African slaves.  Yesu Persaud's forebears were such indentured labourers, and Yesu himself worked in the cane fields. So for us at Warwick to name our Centre for Caribbean Studies after him brings a little beautiful closure to that aspect of history.” 

The Centre researches all aspects of the Caribbean’s history and culture.  The Centre’s Associate Fellows have included, Lord Alli, Professor  Stuart Hall, Baroness Young, Trevor Phillips and Baroness Amos.

The Centre also offers a Baroness Amos Research Fellowship which is open to staff and postdoctoral applicants from the University of the West Indies, the University of Trinidad and Tobago and the University of Guyana. The Centre’s other long running link with Guyana is its annual Walter Rodney Memorial Lecture, given in honour of the distinguished Guyanese historian killed in 1980.

Warwick’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Thrift said:

“The renaming is a wonderful way to mark the Centre’s 25th anniversary. I am also delighted that Yesu Persaud has not only been an active Associate Fellow of the centre but, through his friends and business colleagues in the Caribbean, Europe and North America he has also brought in significant financial support  for the Centre’s work. We have long thought that all of this work should be more recognised  I am delighted that he has now agreed to allow us to rename  the Centre in his honour. I know this will be warmly welcomed by Guyanese and Caribbean people.”

Yesu Persaud has been an Associate Fellow of the Centre for some 12 years and received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Warwick in 2008. Other senior Caribbean related figures to be so honoured by the  University connected with the Centre include Guyana’s Sir Shridath Ramphal (a former Chancellor of the University of Warwick), Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, and Sir Hugh Springer ( former Governor General of Barbados)

Yesu Persaud, is a leading and respected Guyanese business figure and philanthropist. He is also known for his support of human rights and democracy.

He has received several international and national awards including: the Gandhi Organisation Plaque for his contribution to promoting Indian culture in Guyana, the Cacique Crown of Honour for the development of new industries in Guyana in 1983, and the Glory of India Award and Certificate of Excellence by the India International Friendship Society in 2005. In 2006 India honoured him with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman for his outstanding contributions in business and Indian history and culture. Persaud is a founding member of Guyana’s Indian Arrival Committee which was later converted into the Indian Commemoration Trust. He is one of the main persons responsible for creating the Monument Garden which marks the arrival of the first batch of Indian indentured labourers to Guyana in 1838.

He has risen from working in the cane fields of Guyana to become one of that country’s leading business figures. As well as being the Executive Chairman of the Demerara Distillers Group (DDL) of Guyana, he is the founder and Chairman of the Institute of Private Enterprise Development in Guyana which stimulates and finances entrepreneurs and small businesses; the Chairman of Guyana's first indigenous private sector bank, Demerara Bank Ltd; the Chairman of the Private Sector Commission of Guyana; past President of the Guyana Manufacturers Association; the Vice President of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Association; and a member of the Advisory Group to the Caribbean's Chief Trade Negotiator, Sir Shridath Ramphal, on Caricom international negotiations.

Yesu Persaud and Prof David Dabydeen Yesu Persaud pictured with Prof David Dabydeen

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Head of Communications, University of Warwick 
Tel: +44 (0)24 76 523708 Mobile +44 (0)7767 655860

PR35b 28th April 2010




An interview with Yesu Persaud when he received his honorary degree in July 2008