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Cornell University Cornell Brooks Public Policy

The Coming Enlightenment: The University Sector and Reparatory Justice for Slavery and Colonialism

A LACS 60th Anniversary (1961-2021) Public Issues Forum

Post colonial discourse in defining the notion of an historic western Enlightenment has emphasized its characterization with violent colonialism, chattel slavery, indigenous genocide and persistent institutional and cultural racism. The growing global reparatory justice movement, particularly as it emanates from the western university sector, arguably presents the possibility of claiming with some degree of moral credibility the potential for an authentic 21st century Enlightenment. Universities are now deeply researching their role, functions and legacies within the Atlantic slave complex and are pondering where these discursive discoveries, as Crimes against Humanity, will lead; back into the future or forward against the past.

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, eighth vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies, is a distinguished academic, international thought leader, United Nations committee official, and global public activist in the field of social justice and minority empowerment.

He received his higher education in the United Kingdom and is professor of economic history. He has lectured extensively in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. He has published over 100 peer reviewed essays in scholarly journals and over 13 books on subjects ranging from Atlantic and Caribbean History, to gender relations in the Caribbean, sport development, and popular culture.

Beckles is president of Universities Caribbean, chair of the Caribbean Examinations Council, chair of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, and advisor on sustainable development to former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon. He has had global recognition for his academic achievements and leadership expertise and was knighted by the government of Barbados. He has received numerous honorary doctorates from around the world and recently received the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Freedom Award.

This event is sponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, the A.D. White Professor at Large program, and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. It is funded in part by a Migrations initiative grant and a Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) grant from the U. S. Department of Education.