The University of the West Indies (UWI) has established the Rex Nettleford Foundation in memory of the outstanding Caribbean icon who died in early February.
The foundation will support scholars and programmes that promote the strengthening of West Indian society in the areas of social and cultural development through research, community services and intellectual excellence.
It will be mandated to produce young leaders who grasp the importance of public service, based on integrity, protection for the weak and the energy to use their talents for the betterment of humankind.
Sir Shridath Ramphal, chancellor emeritus of the University of the West Indies, has been named chairman of the foundation.
Outstanding Carib citizen
Sir Shridath, who was the UWI chancellor during Professor Nettleford’s term of office as vice chancellor, is an outstanding Caribbean citizen who served as Commonwealth secretary general from 1975 to 1990.
He has also made a significant contribution to the Caribbean educational progress.
In his tribute on the passing of Ralston Milton ‘Rex’ Nettleford, Sir Shridath described him as: “An incandescent eagle because of the power and flight of his vision. We shall not see his like again.”
Born in Falmouth, Nettleford graduated from Cornwall College in Montego Bay before going to the UWI to obtain an honours degree in history.
He was a recipient of the 1957 Rhodes Scholarship to Oriel College, Oxford, where he received a postgraduate degree in politics, and returned to Jamaica in the early 1960s to take up a position at the University of the West Indies.
In 1963 he founded the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, an ensemble which, under his direction, did much to incorporate traditional Jamaican music and dance into a formal balletic repertoire.
An official launch of the Rex Nettleford Foundation is being planned for a date to be announced.