FRIENDS and colleagues of Jamaican-born Dr Claire A Nelson on Tuesday honoured the woman who was last month recognised by the White House as a Champion of Change.
Nelson, founder and president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), was one of nine who was honoured by the White House in Washington, DC on July 26 as leaders who have exemplified extraordinary successes and efforts toward the development of, and diplomacy with their countries of origin.
She was recognised for her work with the Caribbean American Diaspora and for, among other things, advancing exchanges and partnerships with both the United States public and private sectors.
On Tuesday, her friends took the celebration home, praising Nelson for her successes over the years and congratulating her on the prestigious award at a reception in Kingston.
Professor Neville Ying of the Jamaica Diaspora Institute were among those who personally congratulated Nelson. He described her as an endearing and engaging person who is always developing projects which make a difference either where she resides overseas or in the Caribbean diaspora.
“On behalf of the Jamaica Diaspora Institute, I want to salute you as a member of the Jamaican Diaspora for your excellence and achievements. The institute is always very proud of Jamaicans wherever they are,” Ying said.
Nelson’s close friend and colleague, Nsombi Jaja, who was integral to the planning of the function, also extended congratulations and praise.
Social entrepreneur Henley Morgan was among the specially invited guests.
“God bless you for making Jamaica proud. You are the best that Jamaica has to offer. You are a good solid Jamaican,” he told her.
Nelson, responding to the heartwarming praise, said that while she was happy when she received the award in Washington, she felt a greater sense of appreciation after being recognised by her fellow Jamaicans and friends.
She said that the award came at an important time for her — when she was considering quitting the work she was doing. The recognition, she added, has encouraged her to continue “preaching the gospel according to Claire Nelson” — that of development and empowerment.