The 17th Annual Eric E. Williams Memorial Lecture at Florida International University’s Modesto Maidique Campus will take place at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center, on Friday, October 23, 2015 at 6:30 p.m under the theme “The US-Cuba Accord: How the Caribbean Paved the Way”.
The lecture will address the historic 1972 initiation of diplomatic relations with Cuba by Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana – the four signatories to the establishment of CARICOM the very next year. This unprecedented step was taken, despite intense pressure from Washington, a full 43 years prior to that of the US earlier this year. The underpinnings of the Trinidad and Tobago position stem from Williams’ oft-stated insistence on an “extended Caribbean Community embracing everybody – British, French, Dutch, American, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic and the three Guianas” (From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean,1492-1969).
This year, the African & African Diaspora Studies Lecture hosts the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves.
Prime Minister Gonsalves has enjoyed an active political life for many years, having been elected Head of Government for the past three consecutive terms. He has researched, written and published extensively on a range of matters touching upon the Caribbean, Africa, trade unionism, comparative political economy, and developmental issues.
Established in 1999, FIU’s annual Eric Williams Lecture honors the distinguished Caribbean statesman, consummate academic, internationally renowned historian, and author of several other books. The Lecture seeks to provide an intellectual forum for the examination of pertinent issues in Caribbean and African Diaspora history and politics.
Admission is free and open to the public.