revolutionary politician Baroness Valerie Amos, renowned-actress CCH Pounder top list of awardees
REVOLUTIONARY politician, Baroness Valerie Amos, along with world-renowned award-winning actress CCH Pounder are among persons who head the list of special awardees for the University of Guyana’s Diamond (60th) Anniversary.
Baroness Amos of Brondesbury, London, was born in British Guiana (now Guyana). She is a British politician, and the first woman of African Caribbean descent to serve in a British Cabinet, and as Leader of the House of Lords (2003–2007).
Notably, she served as the British High Commissioner to Australia from 2009–2010, and as head of the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs from 2010–2015. She then became Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.
In 2015 and 2019, she was elected to become Master at the University College, Oxford, becoming the first woman to hold the post and the first Black person to head a college at the University of Oxford.
Baroness Amos sits on a number of international foundation boards, including the MasterCard Foundation, UN Foundation, and International Peace Institute. She is also the first person of colour to be appointed as a Companion (Knight or Lady) to the Garter.
Baroness Amos will be conferred with the prestigious Honorary Doctor of Laws, and will address the graduation on November 10 at the University’s third 2023 graduation ceremony.
In the case of Pounder, besides being nominated for a Grammy for her performance in the Best Spoken Word Album, ‘Grow Old Along With Me’, she currently serves on the Board of the African Millennium Foundation, and was a founding member of the non-profit organisation, Artists for a New South Africa, which lists among its causes advancing human and civil rights, and educating and empowering youth.
In 2016, Pounder was conferred the Cacique’s Crown of Honour, the second highest award in the Order of Service of Guyana.
She is currently active in the Creative Coalition, and among recent accolades are the Visionary Leadership Award in Performing Arts from the Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD) in San Francisco, the 2015 Carney Awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Chase Brexton Healthcare in Baltimore, 2015 Honoree at the Grand Performances Gala in Los Angeles, the 2016 SweetArts Performing Arts honoree from the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, the National Urban League’s 2017 Women of Power Award and the 2018 Bob Marley Award from AFUWI (American Foundation for the University of the West Indies).
Notably, her personal collection contains over 500 works of art, many of which she has loaned to Xavier University of Louisiana for a series of exhibitions and some of which were on exhibit at Somerset House in England, Kent State Museum.
Pounder will receive the University of Guyana’s distinguished Honorary Doctorate for Excellence in Arts, along with Guyana-based visual artist Bernadette Persaud on November 11 at the University’s fifth graduation ceremony.
Flautist and folklorist, Keith Waite, who could not receive his award in 2022, as well as renowned Caribbean linguist duo, Jeanette and the late Richard Allsopp, will be conferred with degrees.
This year, three outstanding sportsmen will also be awarded Honorary Doctorates in Sport. These are veteran sports commentator Joseph “Reds” Perreira, internationally-acclaimed karateka Shotokan Frank Woon-A-Tai and legendary Test cricketer Rohan Kanhai from Port Mourant, Berbice.
To round out the list of Honorary Degrees for this year are two icons of business – international shipping magnate and UG alumnus, Kenneth Singh and manufacturing and construction tzar and philanthropist, Abdool Sattaur Gafoor.