TRIBUTE FROM THE RHODES TRUST
In 2003, the centenary year of the Rhodes Scholarship, when the University of Oxford conferred honorary degrees on four prominent Rhodes Scholars from around the world, Rex Nettleford was one of the chosen four. The citation described him as “a Vice-Chancellor, a man of the greatest versatility: effective in action, outstanding in erudition, and most supple in the dance.” And in the following year, the Rhodes Trust established the Rex Nettleford Fellowship in Cultural Studies, not least to “honour Rex’s distinguished contribution to higher education and the cultural life of the Caribbean.” To quote another distinguished Rhodes Scholar, his friend Ian MacDonald, he will remain in cherished memory, as he was in life, “as sparkling as the morning sun.”
TRIBUTE FROM THE NATIONAL DANCE THEATRE COMPANY
The title, “Artistic Director” sounds important, but truth to tell, that title never did justice to Professor Nettleford’s role with the National Dance Theatre Company. Always aware of the limitations of the title, I long ago replaced it in my own thinking with “Company Visionary.” Even that description is not really adequate since it suggests that Prof left others to make manifest his visions. This was not the case. From conception of a dance to the raising of the curtain for performance, he was involved in choreography, music, lighting, staging and administration of every aspect of preparation. And all the while, as father figure and mentor, he regarded as equally important the finding of solutions to the day to day challenges faced by the dancers, musicians, singers and technicians. Quite simply, Prof. Nettleford was our Leader.
TRIBUTE FROM UNESCO
Professor Nettleford was a man of unwavering commitment and a defender of the ideals and values of UNESCO, and his human and intellectual qualities were highly esteemed. As a member of the Executive Board, he played a significant role, contributing immensely to the conception and launch in 1994 of the Slave Route Project. His vision and orientation enlightened the Project, “breaking the silence” on the tragedy of the slave trade and slavery in the service of peace, tolerance and intercultural dialogue. UNESCO will continue to perpetuate the legacy left by this outstanding Jamaican scholar through the promotion of the concept to which he was so committed and the recognition of the “African presence” in the new world.
TRIBUTE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH CENTRE (CANADA)
Professor Rex Nettleford, renowned Jamaican scholar, social critic and cultural icon, was appointed to the inaugural IDRC Board in 1970 with its first Chairman of the Board, Lester B. Pearson, where he served until 1984. In an interview commemorating IDRC’s first decade, Professor Nettleford revealed both his humility and profound optimism when asked about his expectations when he first joined the organization. In his own words “My own interest is largely the full quest of maximizing the resources of the human being, our creative imagination, our creative intellect. I believe very strongly that in the final analysis, it is the capacity of the human being to act, to think, to do, that will make anything work.” IDRC is grateful for his many years of dedicated service.
TRIBUTE FROM UWI CHANCELLOR SIR GEORGE ALLEYNE
Rex Nettleford was a prince among us: a prince who conquered through ideas and not by force of arms. He had a tenacity of purpose that was often shrouded in his quiet but impressive demeanor and was evinced in a prolific intellectual productivity befitting a prince of academia. Above all, he had a burning, almost consuming passion for The University of the West Indies as a regional institution, and it was a rooted part of his credo that our academic institutions had a major role in helping us to understand and appreciate the essences of our being and our personas, to understand our Caribbean culture. Thank you, sweet “Black Prince.” We will ensure that your legacy lives on for our sake and for the sake of generations to come.
TRIBUTE FROM UWI CHANCELLOR EMERITUS SIR SHRIDATH RAMPHAL
All humanity, and within it Jamaica, the Caribbean, the world of dance and culture, academe in our region and beyond, have all lost in Rex Nettleford a rare “incandescent eagle.” Rex Nettleford embodied and epitomized The University of the West Indies: what was best about it, what was noble in its mission, and what it symbolized for all West Indians. And when Oxford University honoured him on the Rhodes Centenary in 2003, he was one of only four Rhodes Scholars worldwide so honoured. It was a global tribute. May our “incandescent eagle” still soar in the hearts and minds of all West Indians.
TRIBUTE FROM THE FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF JAMAICA, THE MOST HONOURABLE P.J. PATTERSON
Rex Nettleford was a unique soul with a brilliant mind and an unparalleled commitment to Jamaica and the Caribbean. The Foundation which has been established in his name should be unique and distinctive, bearing in mind the origin and purpose which inspired the creation of The University of the West Indies, and its regional character. It should seek to broaden the knowledge base required for the new millennium, and encompass the reality of the need for social transformation, economicdevelopment and cultural certitude, embracing the African Diaspora. We have a responsibility to ensure that the values for which he stood become the ground rules for generations to come.