THE University of the West Indies (The UWI) Institute for Gender & Development Studies (IGDS) will host the 9th biennial Lucille Mathurin Mair public lecture on Wednesday, April 17, at the UWI Regional Headquarters, Mona.
The lecture, titled, “Lucille Mathurin Mair: The Opinions & Philosophy of a Rebel Woman”, will be delivered by Professor Verene Shepherd, social historian, director, The UWI Centre for Reparations Research.
The late Ambassador Lucille Mathurin Mair, a pioneer in the fields of history and women and gender studies, earned a Phd in history at The UWI and was the first person to do a dissertation based on women. Her Historical Study of Women in Jamaica 1655-1844, completed in 1974, has influenced research on women and gender and has been the foundation for a plethora of other work on the topic. This thesis was edited by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, vice-chancellor, The UWI, and Professor Shepherd, and was published by UWI Press in 2006.
Renowned as an international diplomatic figure, Mathurin Mair was Jamaica's ambassador to Cuba, and also served as assistant secretary general in the Office of the United Nations Secretariat and was the first woman to hold the title of under secretary general of the United Nations.
Mathurin Mair wrote The Rebel Woman in the British West Indies During Slavery, presenting the black woman not as a victim but as an active agent in her liberation. She served The UWI in various roles including as warden of Mary Seacole Hall, and as first regional coordinator for the Project of Cooperation in Teaching, Research & Outreach in Women & Development Studies. She was instrumental in the establishment of centres for gender and development studies across the campuses of The UWI. Since 1988 the Mona campus has honoured her with the Lucille Mathurin Mair lecture.
Dr Shepherd shares Mathurin Mair's views that, “There are stages in your life when you have to pay tribute to those who, in offering guidance, inspiration and encouragement, made things possible for you.”
A graduate of The UWI — BA Arts, MPhil-History, and PhD-History, University of Cambridge, she is the first Caricom citizen to be elected to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.