UPR’s Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Lewis Memorial Lecture Fund

On April 21, 2022, as part of the 30th series of the Conferencias Caribeñas (Caribbean Lectures) at the University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras, the Instituto de Estudios del Caribe (IEC) [Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS)] hosted Dr. Franklin W. Knight (Jamaica; Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor Emeritus of History at Johns Hopkins University) as keynote speaker for the 6th Memorial Gordon K. Lewis and Sybil Farrell-Lewis Lecture. [See previous post VI Memorial Gordon K. Lewis Sybil Farrell-Lewis Lecture and link to the lecture here.]

Prior to the Lecture, Dr. Angelica Varela Llavona (Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the UPR-RP) and Dr. Emilio Pantojas (Director of the Instituto de Estudios del Caribe), announced that the Faculty of Social Sciences has decided to rename the IEC in honor of Gordon K. Lewis and Sybil Farrell Lewis. The administrative renaming process is expected to be completed by next year, when a two-day conference will be held in honor of the Lewises. Dr. Pantojas also plans to establish an institutional endowment fund—the ICS Lewis Annual Memorial Lecture Fund—as resource for future lectures, to support the continued development of the Lewis legacy of Caribbean Studies and the advancement of the academic development of the region. For this purpose, Lewis Family has established a GoFundMe account.

Here are excerpts from the letter by Dr. Emilio Pantojas:

Since 2014, the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras (UPR), has honored the memory and contribution of Dr. Gordon K. Lewis and his wife Sybil Farrell-Lewis to the development of Caribbean Studies with the establishment of the Gordon K. & Sybil Lewis Annual Memorial Lecture. The Lewis Memorial Lecture Fund was established the same year with seed contributions from the Lewis Family and over 50 Lewis-Farrell relatives, colleagues, and friends, many of you included.

The Fund has allowed us to organize the Lewis Annual Memorial Lectures in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019, and 2021, with Professor Verene Sheperd (Jamaica), Professor Anthony Maingot (Trinidad & Tobago/USA), Professor Richard Price (USA), Professor Miguel Ceara Hatton (Dominican Republic), and Sir Hilary Beckles (Jamaica) as Keynote Lecturers, respectively. The lectures can be accessed at https://sociales.uprrp.edu/iec/conferencias-caribenas/gordon-k-sybil-lewismemorial-lectures/.

In 2016, as part of the Lewis Annual Memorial Lecture, we formally launched and opened to the public the Caribbean Social Sciences Archives composed of the Lewis Collection and the Sidney Mintz Collection of books, manuscripts, documents, and other publications and non-published works. These collections comprise a one-of-a-kind depository of Caribbean Studies materials of two of the greatest “Caribbeanists” of the 20th century, whose work was centered on Puerto Rico.

Gordon K. Lewis, and his wife Sybil Farrel-Lewis, made their mark on Caribbean Studies with long careers at the UPR and as members of the ICS. Dr. Lewis was Professor of Social Sciences from 1955-1987 and was Director of the ICS from 1983 to 1987 and published numerous articles and book reviews in our journal, Caribbean Studies (circa 1961). From 1987-1991 he was Writer-in Residence at the UPR. Mrs. Farrell-Lewis joined the ICS in 1963 and was the Editor of our journal from 1967 to 1988.

The ICS-UPR, established in 1958, is an interdisciplinary research center and one of its goals is the dissemination of academic research about the Caribbean by means of its “Conferencias Caribeñas” lecture series, and its peer-reviewed journal Caribbean Studies, one of the leading publications of the field. Visit the ICS-UPR site https://sociales.uprrp.edu/iec/ for further information.

To honor the memory of Gordon K. Lewis and Sybil Farrell-Lewis, the 6th Memorial Lecture [was] held on April 21, 2022, as part of the 30th series of the “Conferencias Caribeñas” (Caribbean Lectures). Our Keynote Speaker for the 6th Memorial Lecture [was] Dr. Franklin W. Knight (Jamaica), the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor (Emeritus) of History at Johns Hopkins University– https://history.jhu.edu/directory/franklin-knight/. [. . .]

As part of the 2022 Lewis Memorial Lecture, we are seeking to develop the Lecture Fund into an institutional endowment fund to serve as resource for all future Lectures and to support the continued development of the Lewis legacy of Caribbean Studies, and to continue the advancement of the academic and intellectual development of the region.

We wish to invite you to form part of a select group of sponsors and supporters of this endowment fund by making a monetary contribution to the fund that will enable us to cover honoraria for the lecturers as well as other expenses for the “Conferencias Caribeñas” and the Caribbean Social Science Archive. For this purpose, the Lewis Family has established the ICS Lewis Annual Memorial Lecture Fund, a GoFundMe account that you may access at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/w3mdp-upr-lewis-annual-memorial-lecture-fund.

We welcome and are thankful for any amount of contribution. Your contribution will be deposited in the ICS-UPR donors account of the Annual Lewis Lecture to be spent on this event and the work on the Lewis Collection deposited in the Caribbean Social Sciences Archives at UPR. Your support will be recognized in the event publicity and during the presentation and in our printed and electronic conference materials. Also, you/representative will be recognized as Special Guests/Donors at the event.

We look forward to your supporting this initiative and joining us at the Conference and thank you in advance. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any additional information. I can be reached directly at emilio.pantojas@upr.edu. Should you prefer to make your contribution via check please make it payable to Universidad de Puerto Rico and mail it directly to the ICS-UPR.

Instituto de Estudios del Caribe

Universidad de Puerto Rico

9 Avenida Universidad – Suite 901

San Juan, PR 00931-2529

Also see https://www.caribbeannewsglobal.com/upr-2022-lewis-memorial-lecture-fund-request-and-gordon-k-sybil-lewis-annual-memorial-lecture/

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