TRIBUTES flowed Monday night as friends, colleagues and family members of publisher Ian Randle gathered to celebrate his award from the Dutch-based Prince Claus Fund.
Guest speaker, Professor Hilary Beckles, principal of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus and long-time friend, referred to Randle as "a hero of the Caribbean" and "one of the region's most important cultural icons".
He noted Randle's devotion to the development of the Caribbean through his work in publishing.
"The explosion of academic writing in the Caribbean during the 1990s, coincides with the growth and expansion of Ian Randle Publishers," Beckles highlighted.
"He has developed a relationship with his writers throughout the Caribbean and participates in the development of manuscripts. It is this which distinguishes him from just being an entrepreneur to one dedicated to the liberation and freedom of the peoples of the region through the written word. This is publishing with a passion."
In his response, Randle said the Prince Claus Award is a moment for introspection.
"This award serves an important purpose. It serves as a mirror to look at myself. It is truly sobering and humbling, and points to the fact that whatever happens from hereon in, it would have been truly worth it."
Randle used the opportunity to recognise, praise and show appreciation to those who helped make the award possible, namely his writers, associates and staff at Ian Randle Publishers (IRP) now headed by his daughter Christine.
The Prince Claus Award honours outstanding achievement in the field of culture and development. The awards are presented annually to individuals, groups and organisations whose cultural actions have a wide and positive impact on the development of society.
For 2012 there were 11 recipients — one principal awardee and 10 laureates. Randle is the only Caribbean national recognised. He was presented with the award — which is accompanied by a ¤25,000 incentive -- during a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam in December.
Monday's event was also used to launch IRP's latest project, The Caribbean In Sepia A History of Photographs, 1840-1900 by Canadian Michael Ayre.
For 2012 there were 11 recipients — one principal awardee and 10 other laureates.
Randle is the only Caribbean national to take this award. This year's other diverse societies including Syria, Jordan, Mexico, and Kenya.