Dr. Patricia Rodney receives The Presidents Award at St. Martin Book Fair 2023

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service
Dr. Patricia Rodney, CEO of the Walter Rodney Foundation, international health and education consultant, recipient of the Presidents Award at the 21st annual St. Martin Book Fair 2023. (© WRF photo.)

Dr. Patricia Rodney, CEO of the Walter Rodney Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, received the Presidents Award at the closing ceremony of the St. Martin Book Fair on November 25, 2023.

The award is the final highlight of the lit fest, which is usually held in June but was postponed to November this year, said book fair coordinator Shujah Reiph.

Dr. Rodney was presented with the Presidents Award by Reiph before a St. Martin audience and visiting book fair guests. Dr. Rodney said that she was surprised to receive the honor. She said that the award could have been presented to any of the noted authors, academics, and activists that she had met at the literary festival’s 21st edition.

“The Presidents Award is presented to individuals and institutions whose work is noted for its excellence and for combining literary, cultural, and liberation components in the service of progress, of their people or nation, and of humanity,” said Lasana M. Sekou, HNP’s consultant to the book fair.

The festival’s Main Book Launch and Closing Ceremony was held at the spacious Motorworld showroom in Cole Bay. The approximately 120 guests were welcomed by Imran McSood-Amjad, the company’s principal and regionally known businessman.

The theme of book fair 2023, “Resistance,” had already been elaborated on by Rodney in her keynote at the opening ceremony of the festival at Robert Weinum high school, La Savanne, Grand Case, November 23.

Over the three book fest days, visiting or zoomed in guest writers from Anguilla to Italy, the St. Martin public, and visitors to the island at book fair activities had become familiar with Dr. Rodney and key elements of her “Take action” ideas and work.

Dr. Patricia Rodney has lived and worked in Guyana—where Dr. Walter Rodney, her husband, historian, and revolutionary (reparationscomm.org), was assassinated in 1980 for his political activism.

At the Walter Rodney Foundation (WRF), Patricia Rodney and the Walter Rodney family continue to “champion Walter Rodney’s unwavering commitment to human rights, racial equity, and social justice.”

The foundation furthers “Walter Rodney’s legacy by sharing his work and fostering the utilization of his historical analysis and scholar-activism to effect transformative global change.” (walterrodneyfoundation.org)

Dr. Patricia Rodney has also lived and worked especially in education and health areas in Barbados, England, Tanzania, Canada, and the USA. The career of the seasoned public health professional spans health, adult education, and literacy, social work and women, gender, and development.

During her 15-year academic tenure at Morehouse School of Medicine, USA (1995-2010), she was promoted to MPH Program Director, Professor, Dept. of Community Health & Preventative Medicine, and Assistant Dean for Public Health Education.

The Caribbean State, Health Care, and Women: An Analysis of Barbados and Grenada by Patricia Rodney was published in 1998. Her peer-reviewed academic articles have appeared in journals. Dr. Rodney is an Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Community Health & Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine.

Since 2011, Dr. Rodney became the CEO of Partners in Health, Education, and Development (PHEAD), “an international development consultancy organization. She has worked in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Lesotho, and South Africa,” said the WRF.

Among past recipients of the St. Martin Book Fair Presidents Award, which the Daily Herald has called a “prestigious award,” are David Comissiong (Barbados) Edwidge Danticat (USA/Haiti), Computech (St. Martin), Dorbrene O’Marde (Antigua), Casa de las Americas (Cuba), Benny Wenda (West Papua), Norman Girvan (Jamaica), George Lamming (Barbados), Duncan (Costa Rica), Drisana Deborah Jack (St. Martin), Quince Kamau Brathwaite (Barbados), Will Johnson (Saba), Fabian Adekunle Badejo (St. Martin), Nicole Cage (Martinique), and Derek Walcott (St. Lucia).

The Presidents Award is named after the presidents of book fair partners Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF), House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP), and the University of St. Martin (USM), said Reiph.

CLF and the St. Martin Book Fair Committee organized the 21st Annual St. Martin Book Fair in collaboration with the Collectivity of St. Martin, Computech, University of St. Martin, SOS Radio, and NIPA.

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