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UK university names centre after Indian-origin philanthropist

world Updated: Apr 28, 2010 17:50 IST

The University of Warwick has renamed its Centre for Caribbean Studies in honour of Yesu Persaud, the Indian-origin philanthropist who rose from working in the cane fields of Guyana to become one of the country's leading business magnates.

University sources said that the year 2010 marked the 25th anniversary of the Centre, which is one of Europe's leading institutions for Caribbean scholarship.

Persaud has been earlier feted by the Indian government with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.

Guyanese-born Professor David Dabydeen, who proposed the renaming, said, "This is an act of great significance in the Caribbean. Many of our Centre's staff and fellows have examined how in the 19th century hundreds of thousands of Indians were shipped to Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica, to cut cane, as indentured labourers, replacing African slaves."

"Yesu Persaud's forebearers were such indentured labourers, and Yesu himself worked in the cane fields. So for us at Warwick to name our Centre for Caribbean Studies after him brings a little beautiful closure to that aspect of history," he added.

The University of Warwick's Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift said, "I am delighted that Yesu Persaud has not only been an active Associate Fellow of the Centre but, through his friends and business colleagues in the Caribbean, Europe and North America he has also brought in significant financial support for the Centre's work."

Yesu Persaud received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Warwick in 2008.

Other senior Caribbean-related figures to be honoured include Guyana's Sir Shridath Ramphal (a former Chancellor of the University of Warwick), Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, and Sir Hugh Springer (former Governor General of Barbados).