WASHINGTON, DC, USA — Jamaican-born Dr Claire A Nelson, founder and president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), will be honoured by the White House today as a 'Champion of Change'.
Dr Nelson is one of nine Champions of Change being honoured in Washington, DC as "leaders who have exemplified extraordinary successes and efforts toward the development of, and diplomacy with, their countries or communities of origin".
She will be recognised for her work with the Caribbean American Diaspora and for, among other things, advancing exchanges and partnerships with both the public and private sectors in the United States.
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson said that "these exceptional individuals, with their work in sports and community development, in education and financial inclusion, inspire others by their example. In a region with such profound human links between our societies, ideas and inspiration spread quickly to the benefit of people all over the Americas and the Caribbean.
Founded in Washington, DC in 1993, the ICS has planned forums and conferences, mentored Caribbean American leaders and organisations around the country, and served as a national profile partner for Census 2010.
Dr Nelson has also been instrumental in encouraging Caribbean American civic engagement and in promoting Caribbean Diaspora participation in the development agenda of the Caribbean region.
An international development expert with over 30 years of experience, Dr Nelson is also an engineer, with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in industrial engineering from SUNY at Buffalo and Purdue University respectively, and a Doctorate in engineering management from George Washington University. She is a graduate of the St Hugh's High School in Kingston.
Dr Claire is an accomplished playwright and Caribbean folkloric performer, and has used her passion and acumen to open doors for the disadvantaged and the marginalised across the Americas.
The Champions of Change programme was created as a part of President Barack Obama's Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognised for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.
The programme is a collaborative effort of the United States State Department and United States Agency for International Development.