UK varsity names centre after Indian-origin philanthropist

The University of Warwick has renamed its Centre for Caribbean Studies in honour of Yesu Persaud, the Indian-origin philanthropist who rose from working in the cane fields of Guyana.

Last Updated: Apr 28, 2010, 18:25 PM IST

London: The University of Warwick has
renamed its Centre for Caribbean Studies in honour of Yesu
Persaud, the Indian-origin philanthropist who rose from
working in the cane fields of Guyana to become one of the
country`s leading business magnates.

University sources said that the year 2010 marked
the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Centre, which
is one of Europe`s leading institutions for Caribbean
scholarship.

Persaud has been earlier feted by the Indian
government with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.

Guyanese-born Prof David Dabydeen, who proposed the
renaming, said, "This is an act of great significance in the
Caribbean. Many of our Centre`s staff and fellows have
examined how in the 19th century hundreds of thousands of
Indians were shipped to Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica, to cut
cane, as indentured labourers, replacing African slaves."

"Yesu Persaud`s forebears were such indentured
labourers, and Yesu himself worked in the cane fields. So for
us at Warwick to name our Centre for Caribbean Studies after
him brings a little beautiful closure to that aspect of
history," he added.

The University of Warwick`s Vice-Chancellor Prof Nigel
Thrift said, "I am delighted that Yesu Persaud has not only
been an active Associate Fellow of the centre but, through his
friends and business colleagues in the Caribbean, Europe and
North America he has also brought in significant financial
support for the Centre`s work."

Yesu Persaud received an honorary Doctorate from the
University of Warwick in 2008.

Other senior Caribbean related figures to be so
honoured include Guyana`s Sir Shridath Ramphal (a former
Chancellor of the University of Warwick), Nobel Laureate Derek
Walcott, and Sir Hugh Springer (former Governor General of
Barbados).

Yesu Persaud has received several international and
national awards including: the Gandhi Organisation Plaque for
his contribution to promoting Indian culture in Guyana, the
Cacique Crown of Honour for the development of new industries
in Guyana in 1983, and the Glory of India Award and
Certificate of Excellence by the India International
Friendship Society in 2005.

In 2006 India honoured him with the Pravasi Bharatiya
Samman for his outstanding contributions in business and
Indian history and culture.

Persaud is a founding member of Guyana`s Indian
Arrival Committee which was later converted into the Indian
Commemoration Trust.

He is one of the main persons responsible for creating
the Monument Garden which marks the arrival of the first batch
of Indian indentured labourers to Guyana in 1838.

Persaud was one of the founding members of Global
Organisation for People of Indian Origin which was formed in
the latter part of August 1989.

PTI