February 2019

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Celebrating Sir Arthur

He was the first West Indian to win the Nobel Prize, the first Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, and a giant in the field of economics whose groundbreaking work is still recognised today.

Sir William Arthur Lewis was born on January 23 1915 in St Lucia. This past January, UWI St Augustine celebrated the man and his ideas over three days with Sir Arthur Lewis Memorial Events.

From January 23 to 25, the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) held events in commemoration of one of the University’s, and the region’s, greatest minds. 2019 marks the second year the St Augustine campus has hosted memorial activities on his birthday.

" (Sir Arthur) is significant from a UWI perspective and a West Indian perspective,” said Dr Hamid Ghany, Director of SALISES. “He is someone very much identified with the University and its history".

On the 23rd, SALISES hosted the Sir Arthur Lewis Memorial Symposium which consisted of several scholars presenting formal academic papers. The Life and Work of Sir Arthur Lewis Forum, an open discussion on his legacy, was held on the 24th.

On the final day, the Sir Arthur Lewis Distinguished Lecture was conducted on the topic “State Capacity and Economic Development”. The lecture was given by Sir Timothy Besley, Professor of Economics and Political Science and W. Arthur Lewis, Professor of Development Economics at the London School of Economics.

Over the three days participants looked at Sir Arthur’s pioneering work in areas such as Caribbean innovation, the energy sector and even his attempt to rescue the West Indies Federation. The presentations from the 2019 memorial will be published in book form in May of this year, and there are plans to release a volume containing the presentations from the 2018 Sir Arthur Lewis commemoration.