The sky is the limit,” was the message the Honorable Dr. Keith Rowley, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, recently brought to what he called “all the young people of the Caribbean diaspora in Brooklyn.” He made his remarks as the keynote speaker Thursday evening at Medgar Evers’s inaugural International Education Awards Ceremony. The event recognized supporters of international studies at Medgar Evers and drew more than 500 people to the Founders Auditorium.
The exuberant ceremony was open to the public and included elected officials, members of the college community, business and union leaders, as well as dignitaries from the Prime Minister’s office.
The task of reconfiguring a new world in a time of daunting complexities will be influenced by “the depth of our appetite for knowledge and truth,” said Dr. Rowley, who was elected last September. The Prime Minister spoke Thursday night of the achievements of black colleges and black heroes and heroines in spite of monumental obstacles and the need to reverse the trend of world leaders who let down their constituents.
In a wide-ranging speech, with pauses for entertainment that included steel drums and a gospel jazz singer, Dr. Rowley also spoke of his efforts to root out corruption in Trinidad and Tobago and to boost the economy by constructing major highways and increasing the number of hotels. He looks forward to relationships between City University of New York institutions and Caribbean schools, he said. Recent enrollment figures at Medgar Evers show that the Caribbean is well-represented: over 11 percent of students are from Trinidad and Tobago and almost half come from Jamaica, Haiti or Guyana.
Dr. Rowley ended his address with an invitation to the audience to come to Trinidad and Tobago.
Thursday night’s honorees certainly respect the power of a global vision. They were Dr. Maria-Luisa Ruiz, chair of the Medgar Evers Department of Foreign Languages, who received the Faculty Award for her work; Ms. Jean Joseph, founder and chief executive officer of the Joseph Tax Consulting Services LLC, who received the Corporate Sponsor Award for her support ; Shamony Gibson, a business major in the School of Business who has studied in Japan and Italy, was the Student Award Recipient; and Ms. Agnes Magdalene Abraham, a Medgar Evers alumna, was posthumously awarded the International Education Alumni award.
Ms. Gibson, a junior, also managed to win a trip to Trinidad via Caribbean Airlines at a raffle drawing Thursday night.
“Our quest is the quest for their minds to take a journey,” Dr. Rudolph Crew, the president of Medgar Evers said in remarks Thursday. Eugene Pursoo, Director of the college’s Office of International Education said Thursday that the office prepares students “for the opportunities and challenges of our globalized world.”
Australia, China, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Grenada, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Panama, Spain and Trinidad and Tobago are among the destinations for Medgar Evers students who study abroad.
In conjunction with the Prime Minister’s visit, the evening featured a ticketed VIP Reception as a fundraiser to support study abroad scholarships for Medgar Evers students. For more information on how to support the Office of International Education at Medgar Evers College, please contact the Office at 718-270-5136 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.