Executive Council 2024 – 2026

Click on the images or names below to view bios.

Rhoda Arrindell

Rhoda Arrindell

Position: President (2024-2025)
Email: president@caribbeanstudiesassociation.org

I was born in Curacao and raised in St. Martin, both Caribbean territories administered by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

In 1985, I began my university studies at the University of Miami and in 1989 graduated from Syracuse University in New York with a bachelor’s degree in linguistics. That year, I returned home and was employed at the University of St. Martin, coordinating the English-as-a-Second Language program and teaching English.

In 1996, I obtained a pre-law diploma (propaedeuse) from the University of the Netherlands Antilles in Curacao, while working as the community outreach and prevention officer for Turning Point, a drug rehabilitation center, and an editor for The Chronicle newspaper.

In 2005, I obtained a master of arts in education administration from the University of the Virgin Islands. At the same time, I headed the Language Division, subsequently the Humanities Division, at the University of St. Martin.

From 2010 – 2012, I served as St. Martin’s first Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, and Youth Affairs in the UP/DP coalition government. While serving as minister, I graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in 2011, with a doctorate in English, specializing in Caribbean linguistics.

Since leaving office, I continue to work as a consultant and currently teach English at the University of The Bahamas.

I’m the owner/operator of SoIL (Source of Inspiration and Learning) book café and the founder of the Institute for Language Research and Development, under which the United Academy is run.

My book Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin was published in 2014.

I believe in the love, unity, and people empowerment.

Rhoda Arrindell

President (2024-2025)

I was born in Curacao and raised in St. Martin, both Caribbean territories administered by...

Raymond Laureano

Raymond Laureano

Position: Vice President (2024-2025)
Email: vice.president@caribbeanstudiesassociation.org

Raymond LAUREANO-ORTIZ, PhD in Caribbean History. Author of Spanish-language textbook International Relations: Puerto Rico, the United States, and the Rest of the World. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Center for Advanced Studies on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, in Old San Juan. Founding Managing Editor of Caribbean Conjunctures: The Caribbean Studies Association Journal. Former Chair of the UK Society for Caribbean Studies and former Vice President of the Association of Caribbean Historians.

Raymond Laureano

Vice President (2024-2025)

Raymond LAUREANO-ORTIZ, PhD in Caribbean History. Author of Spanish-language textbook International Relations: Puerto Rico, the...

Okama Ekpe-Brook

Okama Ekpe Brook

Position: Immediate Past President (2023-2024)
Email: okamacsa2017@gmail.com

Okama is a conscious heartist, an International development expert, policy adviser, scholar, activist, entrepreneur, model, dancer, philanthropist, and author. She is the founder and president of the Africa Caribbean Heritage Alliance, ACHA, an international NGO based in Africa (Nigeria), Caribbean (Sint Maarten) and North America (Canada). She is a wife, mother of three beautiful children and speaker. She is a Nigerian/Canadian and available for consulting opportunities.

She is a scholar with an MA in Development Studies and Public Policy, and currently a Research Assistant at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She is also a member of the Caribbean Studies Association, and an Online Education Consultant for the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean & AsombrosoX.

Okama began her international development career in the 1996 working at the Alberta Research Station, Lacombe, Canada as a research assistant before landing development jobs in Thailand as gender adviser, in Lao PDR as CUSO Co-Operant Coordinator, in Sri Lanka as UNV Program Officer, in Curacao as UNDP Liaison Officer and Government Senior Economic Adviser and in Sint Maarten as Government Senior Policy Adviser on National Development planning and Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performing Arts as Innovation & Communication Coordinator. In Nigeria, she was the Country Director for the ACHA/VOICE Innovation and Reconnection; and Now US Awards projects, both Oxfam in Nigeria and Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs supported initiatives. She volunteers as the Vice President/Global Liaison, VOME Magazine, a USA based magazine helping to transform Africa’s economy through connections and public private partnerships between Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean through features, tourism and SDG initiatives.

She has traveled and has lived experiences in over 50 countries, having worked with the United Nations, International NGOs and governments in Asia, the Caribbean, North America and Africa. She authored several development publications including the CSA Annual Report 2016, Curacao and Sint Maarten MDG Report in 2011, and Measuring Volunteerism in Lao PDR in 2001, etc. She has certifications as a leadership, governance and life coach, project management trainer & mentor, dance fitness coach, change management and humanitarian coach.

Okama is a sports enthusiast who played college soccer at Red Deer college, touch rugby, volleyball and swimming in Canada. She coached boys and girls soccer teams and was the technical coordinator of a youth soccer club in the Caribbean and currently manages the FOG U.15 Boys Volleyball Club in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Okama believes in equitable development and the enhancement of the full human potential and continues to give back professionally, academically and passionately and using as a baseline the deep-rooted questions surrounding the preservation and protection of the African cultural heritage and by defacto, the historical linkages and reconnections of people of African Descent, she is passionate about ACHA’s role in strengthening economic development and image of Africa and Peoples of African Descent.

She is an Entrepreneur, and an Independent Contractor of Max International, the Glutathione company Ltd USA; Combined Insurance, a Chubb company of Canada/USA and a Vision Partner of Lifestyle Asset Hub, Nigerian/Pan African real estate and wealth creation company.

Okama is a Rotarian and was the past president of Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise, and past co-chair of the Caribbean Studies Association. She is a dancer, performer and transmits love and understanding through her passion for creativity. As a world changer, she believes in the power of harnessing people’s emotional Intelligence in the pursuit for leadership and institutional strengthening.

Her breakthrough in the modeling industry came in 2019 while in Nigeria. She partnered with HopeZ Modeling Academy to implement the Africa Fashion for Peace.

Okama is known for her modeling appearances in the agency’s several events and as brand ambassador/global face for several companies. She has been featured in several magazines I.e Vome edition 2021, HopeZ Magazine 2020, Voice Global magazine, CSA publication, etc.

She had dancing roles in Sri Lanka, Curacao, Canada, Sint Maarten and Nigeria and compere roles in Abuja, Nigeria at the Abuja Fashion Night (2019), Africa Fashion for Peace (2019 & 2020), Sri Lanka (2016-2017) and Sri Lanka (2008-2009) and several speaking, trainings, mentoring and coaching roles.

In 1997, Okama started activism for gender integration into development work as a gender analyst at an NGO in Thailand leading to a long career in gender activism for which she has received the Gender Champs and Cultural Ambassador award and currently links into the work of PACE/WAGE project at the Arts, Women and Gender Equality Department, University of Alberta to address intimate partner violence amongst the African community in Canada working with Prof. Philomina Okeke-Ijiherika as a research coordinator.

She is poised to continue to contribute towards developmental change globally through reawakening deeper cultural understanding for empowering youth and women and general development of Black people around the world.

Okama Ekpe Brook

Immediate Past President (2023-2024)

Okama is a conscious heartist, an International development expert, policy adviser, scholar, activist, entrepreneur, model,...

COUNCIL MEMBERS

Rita Keresztesi

Rita Keresztesi

Position: Council Member (2023-2025)
Email: ritak@ou.edu

I am Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma. I received my Ph.D. in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1999. My research and teaching focus on Caribbean, African American and African literary and cultural studies. I was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar at l’Université Ouaga 1 Professeur Ki-Zerbo, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 2010-2011. I am the author of the books Literary Black Power in the Caribbean: Fiction, Music and Film (Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 2021);and of Strangers at Home: American Ethnic Modernism between the World Wars (Nebraska University Press 2005/2009); and the co-editor (with Ellie Higgins and Dayna Oscherwitz) of the book The Western in the Global South (Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 2015). My recent publications focus on West African cinema and music and on Afro-Caribbean literature and culture.

Rita Keresztesi

Council Member (2023-2025)

I am Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma. I received my Ph.D. in...

Geneve Philip-Durham

Genève Phillip-Durham

Position: Council Member (2023-2025)
Email: geneve.phillip@yahoo.com

Dr. Genève Phillip-Durham is the Principal Consultant of REACH Global; a Caribbean-based research, education, and career consulting firm. She holds a Bsc. in Public Sector Management, Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations, Msc. in Global Studies, and PhD. in International Relations. Over the past ten (10) years, Genève has served in management and leadership roles both regionally and internationally, inter alia; as Administrative Manager at the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, the Dean of Academics at the University of St. Martin and the Supervisory Committee of Eastern Credit Union. She is currently the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University College of Cayman Islands. Genève also serves as an Academic Board Member of the Accreditation Agency of Curaçao, the Book Reviews Editor for the Island Studies Journal- an international peer reviewed journal, and Secretary of the Board of Directors for Solar Head of State- an international NGO which focuses on sustainability and renewable energy.

Genève has a keen interest in contributing to the political economy of development, specifically in Caribbean small island states and non-independent territories and as such, much of her academic work focuses on generating indigenous and innovative policy solutions for island-nominated challenges. She has published peer reviewed articles and book chapters on topics such as; capacity and institution building, policy practice, good governance, diversification and resilience, and has presented her academic research at several Conferences throughout the Caribbean, North America and Europe.

Genève Phillip-Durham

Council Member (2023-2025)

Dr. Genève Phillip-Durham is the Principal Consultant of REACH Global; a Caribbean-based research, education, and...

Maya Freeman

Maya I. Freeman

Position: Graduate Student Representative (2023-2025)
Email: graduatestudentrep@caribbeanstudiesassociation.org

Maya I. Freeman the current CSA2023-2025 Graduate Student Representative is a researcher, health/wellness educator, creative artist, photojournalist, and mother. Freeman is a graduate student in the Goddard Graduate Institute of Goddard College.

Maya Freeman has remained committed to successfully completing her Ph.D. in Sociology. Freeman’s research and interdisciplinary studies in Caribbean/Indigenous Global History, Global/African Diasporan Studies, Global Social History, Hybrid Cultural Studies, and related areas inclusive of Intersectional Studies of the Caribbean and wider Americas.

Freeman completed her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology-Cum Laude at City University of New York-Hunter College. Freeman attended the University of the Virgin Islands- Orville Kean Campus in St. Thomas from 2014-2016 attending CUNY-Hunter College.

Freeman remains engaged in community service organizations, social media marketing, graphic design development, and creative arts consultant projects. Served as CSA2023 St. Croix Local Organizing Committee Representative and Virtual Administrative Program Coordinator for
CSA2023 St. Croix Conference.

Maya I. Freeman

Graduate Student Representative (2023-2025)

Maya I. Freeman the current CSA2023-2025 Graduate Student Representative is a researcher, health/wellness educator, creative...

Oneil Hall

Oneil Hall

Position: Council Member 2024-2026
Email: oneil.hall@hotmail.com

Oneil Hall, a dedicated scholar in Caribbean studies, has made significant contributions to the fields of history. A committed member of the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) since 2011, Hall has demonstrated his dedication to the association and the broader academic community through his service on various committees. Notably, he served as a member of the Program Chair Committee in 2023 and 2024 and co-chaired the Travel Grants Committee during the same years.

Hall’s academic journey began at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, where he earned both his PhD and BA in History. His pursuit of educational excellence continued with a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching from Mico University College. As a UWI Scholar and recipient of the UWI Post Graduate Scholarship, Hall exemplified a deep commitment to his studies and academic growth.

Currently, Hall serves as an adjunct lecturer in the Institute of Caribbean Studies and the History and Archaeology Department at the UWI, Mona Campus. Previously, he served as a temporary full-time lecturer in the Institute of Caribbean Studies, where he acted as coordinator of the university-wide foundation course Caribbean Civilization and Project 4.0. Additionally, he teaches History and Caribbean Studies at St. Andrew High School for Girls, where he imparts his extensive knowledge and passion for the subject to younger generations.

Hall’s involvement with academic associations is extensive and impactful. His long-standing membership in the CSA since 2011, coupled with his recent supportive roles, underscores his dedication to fostering academic collaboration and support within the Caribbean studies community. His work as Co-Chair of the Travel Grants Committee in 2023 and 2024 highlights his commitment to facilitating opportunities for researchers to share their work and engage with peers across the region.

In 2015, Hall co-founded CO Research Consultancy, a research-based enterprise offering archival research services to scholars, lecturers, government agencies, and businesses. His expertise has been instrumental in numerous projects.

Hall’s dedication to historical research is evident in his numerous scholarly publications. He has authored chapters in books such as “The Cayman Islands: History, Politics, and Society Essays in Honour of J. A. Roy Bodden” and has published articles like “Africans and Pedro St. James” in the Journal of the University College of the Cayman Islands. His insightful book reviews have appeared in journals such as the Journal of Sport History, Caribbean Quarterly, and Jamaica Journal, further contributing to academic discourse.

Recognized for his contributions, Hall has received several distinctions and awards, including the Jamaica Gleaner’s Silver Pen Award for the best letter to the editor in February 2015. These accolades reflect his exceptional dedication to Caribbean studies and his role as a leading academic in the field.

Hall’s scholarly impact extends beyond publications and awards. He has presented at numerous conferences and seminars on diverse topics such as national identity formation in Grenada and Jamaica, the experiences of Jamaican female domestic workers in the Cayman Islands, and the complex historical relations between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. His active participation in these events underscores his commitment to advancing knowledge and providing valuable insights into Caribbean history.

Hall’s dissertation, “The Relationship between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, 1862-2005,” is a testament to his comprehensive understanding of Caribbean history. This work, along with his ongoing research on the experiences of Jamaican migrant women in the Cayman Islands, explores the intricate connections between these territories and highlights the challenges faced by Caribbean women.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Hall engages in public service, contributing to the Homelessness Committee of the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation in Jamaica since March 2017. His participation in radio programs discussing critical Caribbean issues further demonstrates his commitment to community engagement and public discourse.

Hall’s multifaceted contributions to Caribbean studies, his outstanding academic achievements, and his dedication to public service and education underscore his pivotal role in advancing knowledge and historical understanding in the Caribbean region and beyond. His work continues to shape the academic landscape and enrich the broader understanding of Caribbean history.

Oneil Hall

Council Member 2024-2026

Oneil Hall, a dedicated scholar in Caribbean studies, has made significant contributions to the fields...

Donna Hope

Donna P. Hope

Position: Council Member 2024-2026
Email: dqueen13@hotmail.com

Donna P. Hope, PhD is tenured Professor of Culture, Gender and Society in the Institute of Caribbean Studies, and former Deputy Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the Faculty of Humanities and Education at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. A specialist in the areas of popular culture, identity, masculinities, and media, Professor Hope’s work tackles Jamaican/Caribbean cultures of identity-making as they intersect with power domains.

She has made numerous presentations locally, regionally, and across the world, and published extensively in the areas of popular culture, gender, music, identity, and creative industries. Professor Hope believes in the importance of documenting culture and has published six academic books, one self-published motivational book, and many articles in journals and newspapers. Her most recent publication titled Dancehall Queen: Erotic Subversion/Subversion Erotica (edited with Carla Lamoyi) was published in August 2023. A bilingual work written simultaneously in English and Spanish, this book historicizes the Dancehall Queen phenomenon in its engagement with music, dance and fashion, and assesses the movement of this female-focussed cultural force outwards both regionally and globally.

Professor Hope is a former Director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies, where she organized and chaired four International Reggae Conferences. A keen cultural activist with a deep interest in black, working class culture, and a researcher with a strong ethnographic focus,
Professor Hope is the founder of The Dancehall Archive and Research Initiative (www.dancehallarchive.org) which preserves, innovates and disseminates information about dancehall culture, while working with Dancehall actors and researchers locally, regionally and internationally. Dancehall Queen is the Dancehall Archive’s first book publication done jointly with FIEBRE Ediciones (Mexico).

A renowned keynote speaker, social commentator, former talk show host, and itinerant newspaper columnist, Professor Hope is finalizing her poetry monograph, These Thorns Have Roses, for publication. She is also completing the final draft her manuscript on the spread of
dancehall’s dance industry under the title Dancehall’s Scattered Children; as well as her work on the transitions in Afro-Caribbean gender structures tentatively titled Transitory Masculinities. Professor Hope holds a B.A. in Mass Communication *Hons), and Masters of Philosophy
(Political Science) from the University of the West Indies, Mona; and, as a Fulbright scholar to the USA, she completed a PhD in Cultural Studies from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Donna P. Hope

Council Member 2024-2026

Donna P. Hope, PhD is tenured Professor of Culture, Gender and Society in the Institute...

Maggie Shrimpton Masson

Maggie Shrimpton Masson

Position: Council Member 2024-2026
Email: maggieshrimpton@yahoo.com.mx

I was born in the UK and have lived my adult life in Southeast Mexico (since 1989). I am a full tenured Professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, México. I received a PhD from the Universidad de La Habana, Cuba, and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, UK. I teach Latin American and Caribbean literatures (in Spanish and sometimes in English) at the Facultad de Ciencias Antropológicas (Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán). Since 2017 I coordinate a student support system for international students at the Facultad de Ciencias Antropológicas, focused on fomenting interculturality. My research centres on cultural identities and literature in the Mainland Caribbean. I have published articles and book chapters on Yucatan and Belize and my recent work is on Guyanese writers. I am a longstanding CSA member and have collaborated as Programme Chair (2013) and Local Organizing Committee Chair (2014), as well as volunteering on Literary Salon Committee, Gordon K and Sybil Lewis Book Award, the Travel grant and Translingual and Translation Committee.

Maggie Shrimpton Masson

Council Member 2024-2026

I was born in the UK and have lived my adult life in Southeast Mexico...

APPOINTED MEMBERS

Mala Jokhan

Mala Jokhan

Position: Secretary (2017-2025)
Email: secretariat@caribbeanstudiesassociation.org

Mala Jokhan is the Research Specialist with the International Co-operation Desk, Ministry of Health, Trinidad and Tobago, and teaches in the Sociology (undergraduate) and Child, Adolescent and Youth Studies (graduate) Programs at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Open Campus, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. Specializing in migration, family, childhood and cultural studies, she volunteers as a Research Associate in the Rights of Children and Youth Partnership (RCYP) Project: Immigration Dynamics (Caribbean-Canadian Immigration); a Ryerson University and UWI, Mona and St. Augustine collaboration. With a special interest in Caribbean scholarship, she is a member of the Society for Caribbean Studies (SCS), the Executive Council of the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) in the position of CSA Secretariat (SALISES, UWI, St. Augustine) and also serves on the Examination Committee of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) as an Assistant Chief Examiner of Sociology for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE). She holds a PhD in Social Policy from the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), UWI, St. Augustine. Her research interests mainly include transnational migration and globalization; unemployment, poverty and social wellbeing; childhood and youth; family and caregiving; children of migrants; public healthcare for migrants; migration of healthcare professionals; migration and the spread of communicable diseases; immigrant youth (identity and adaptation); Caribbean ethnicity and culture; Caribbean diaspora; environmental migrants; immigration policies, parent-child separation and reunification; human trafficking; anti-trafficking policy development and interventions; social policy formulation and reform.

Mala Jokhan

Secretary (2017-2025)

Mala Jokhan is the Research Specialist with the International Co-operation Desk, Ministry of Health, Trinidad...

Dwaine Plaza

Dwaine Plaza

Position: Treasurer (2017-2025)
Email: treasurer@caribbeanstudiesassociation.org

Dwaine Plaza is a Professor of Sociology in the School of Public Policy. From 2016-2018 he served as an Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University. In 2019 he was elected to serve as the Faculty Senate President.  He has been at Oregon State University for twenty-two years and teaches a wide slate of classes both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His teaching includes: Race and Ethnic Relations, Globalization, Social Justice, Cross Cultural Issues, Applied Research Methods, International study abroad, Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods. He has written extensively on the topic of Caribbean migration within the international diaspora, gender and STEM education, critical pedagogy, and ethnic relations in Canada.

Dwaine Plaza

Treasurer (2017-2025)

Dwaine Plaza is a Professor of Sociology in the School of Public Policy. From 2016-2018...

Meagan Sylvester

Meagan Sylvester

Position: Newsletter Editor (2014-2025), Program Chair (2024-2025)
Email: newseditor@caribbeanstudiesassociation.org

Meagan Sylvester is a published author from the Caribbean twin island of Trinidad and Tobago. She is a UWI, St. Augustine graduate who specialises in the Sociology of Music and she is a Caribbean scholar whose doctoral research focused on Narratives of Resistance in Calypso and Ragga Soca music. Her continuing interrogation within the academy centers on Music, Gender, and National Identity in Calypso and Soca, Music of Diasporic Carnivals, Narratives of Resistance in Calypso and Ragga Soca music, Steelpan and kaisoJazz musical identities. Teaching and research interests are Caribbean Music Cultures and African Diaspora Popular Culture. In addition, she has hosted scholarly workshops on music and culture in Europe, Latin America, South America, the United States and the Caribbean.

She is currently a Visiting Professor, Sociology and Anthropology at Farmingdale State College at The State University of New York and an adjunct professor of Africana Studies at Queens College and English Composition at New York City College of Technology.

She holds professional memberships in international organizations which include the Society for Ethnomusicology, the International Association of the Study for Popular Music, Caribbean Studies Association and the Association of Black Sociologists.

As a Labour Market specialist, she has worked as a Senior Lecturer with responsibility for the Research Methods and Sociology academic programmes at the Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies in Trinidad and Tobago. Specialising in Labour Market Research, she has held positions on cabinet-appointed government sub-committees with responsibility for providing baseline survey data and monitoring and evaluation for national labour market sectors at The Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development in Trinidad and Tobago.

Her many board appointments demonstrate her commitment to her public engagement portfolio: (i) Education and Research – She is a board member of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation – TUCO and holds the position as Director, Education and Research. (ii) Culture and Archiving – She holds a board position at the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Museum (iii) Communications and Information Technology – she is an Executive Board member of the Caribbean Studies Association – CSA. She holds two positions on the CSA Council, namely Chair, Newsletter Committee and Co-Chair of the Digital Media Network Committee.

Signaling her passion for volunteerism, she is a committee member for three organisations which focus on women a) the Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago (PLOTT), b) The Association of   Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago (AFETT) and c) Caribbean Women Honours and Empowerment.

Meagan Sylvester

Newsletter Editor (2014-2025), Program Chair (2024-2025)

Meagan Sylvester is a published author from the Caribbean twin island of Trinidad and Tobago....