Questions for CSA Past Presidents
Responses by J. Edward Greene
CSA President 1988-1989
How did you come to specialize in Caribbean Studies?
When I was appointed as a Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of Social and Economic Studies, UWI St Augustine, in 1969.
How did your interest in and commitment to Caribbean Studies evolve?
Recognizing the need for more empirical studies especially to enhance policy making in the region.
When did you first join CSA and what did it mean to you then?
I joined CSA in 1975-76 when CSA was a fledgling organization but it provided a very useful source of engaging with scholars and policy makers in inter-disciplinary exchanges which helped to stimulate approaches to development studies .
What were your goals for CSA the year of your presidency?
To strengthen the processes for regional integration and foster Pan Caribbeanism.
What did you recognize to be the greatest obstacles facing CSA and Caribbean Studies during your presidency?
Making the Association more viable by accelerating its legitimacy as a high level professional organization: sustaining the membership of leading scholars and attracting new membership committed to creative scholarship that pushed the frontiers of knowledge.
What did you consider to be the greatest accomplishment of CSA that year?
Honoring Sir Arthur Lewis and thereby stimulating an accelerated interest in the multidimensional aspects of his path breaking developmental work and international reputation.
Why did you choose the location you did for the CSA annual conference that year?
Barbados did not host a conference before and it was a natural fit for honouring Sir Arthur whose last position in the Caribbean was as President of the CDB located in Barbados with outreach to the OECS and the wider Caribbean.
Where do you hope to see CSA in the next ten years?
Flourishing as think-thank and inspiring activism: transposing its activities beyond the annual meetings to being a hub for stimulating thought and action within the Caribbean and the Diaspora and utilizing the new technologies in this process, thereby being a real catalyst for bonding and change.
What is one of your fondest CSA memories?
The CSA Conference 1990: Fulfilling Sir Arthur Lewis’ wish by a surprise presentation to him of a full collection of his writings and recognizing that it was truly team effort coordinated by Prof Claudia Mitchel Kerman, former Vice Chancellor of UCLA and Prof Jocelyn Massiah Chair of the Conference. The presentation literally brought tears to the eyes of Sir Arthur: a truly deserving tribute to one of our most outstanding scholars.
What are you doing now in terms of the Caribbean?
I am an advocate for Caribbean development and currently am focusing on fast tracking the end of the AIDS epidemic as part of the global health agenda in the post 2015 development agenda The aim is to assist in bequeathing to the Caribbean and healthier environment in which young people a free to dream and prosper.
Where do see the future of Caribbean Studies?
The sky is the limit but this depends on the future leadership; its commitment for exploration beyond the comfortable zones and passion for breaking down the barriers to achieve greater equity and prosperity for Caribbean peoples.
What would you recommend to a young scholar starting in Caribbean Studies?
Reach beyond the boundaries of single disciplines but moreso tangle with a Caribbean landscape thereby elevating the Caribbean civilization as a viable and recognizable brand within the global compass.