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Guyana Folk Festival Awards 2007
E.R. Braithwaite – Receives Exemplary Award

Photo courtesy Gus Corbin
E.R. Braithwaite, Francis Quamina Farrier & Ronald H. Lammy
Photo: Gus Corbin

The intrinsic value of a common culture to the well-being of a society is widely accepted. One or more cultural elements can act as the bond that keeps a politically divided country whole. Guyana, although a young country, has the good fortune of cultural depth that manifests itself through, for example, the visual and performing arts, cuisine, and the writings of its poets and authors. Educators, cultural visionaries and enablers support each facet.

In 2007, the year of Guyana’s 41st independence anniversary; the bicentennial of the abolition of the trade in African captives; and the Folk Festival’s theme of Oii - Origins, Identity and Influence, we salute outstanding Guyanese in these fields. They have contributed to the country’s cultural development and we are grateful.

Our honorees cover a broad range of achievement and several decades of accomplishment. A common feature among the group is their individual scope of endeavors. Their cultural impact was not their only field. Our Calypsonian is a businessman. Our anthropologist is a writer and linguist. Our educator/diplomat is a writer whose work was made into a movie and acclaimed globally. Our WW II aviator was a theatre and screen actor in the 1950s and broadcaster. Our former Deputy Premier is a cultural visionary and enabler. Our entrepreneur is a cultural enabler. Our spoken word folklorist was a teacher. Our political lyricist is a poet and singer. Our family group musicians and our herbalist enjoy other diverse careers too. Our writer, literary critic is a television producer and book publisher. And we know that any adult who dedicates her time to molding the positive development of children must be functioning in many capacities. Mothering is a primary one.

We salute them all for their service and making us proud to be Guyanese.

Ronald H. Lammy,
Co-Chair, Awards Committee
August 29, 2007

Short Biography

E.R. Braithwaite is best known for his autobiographical work, To Sir, With Love and the movie of the same name, which tells the story of a black teacher in the East End of London during the 1950s. He has had a successful career as an educator, a diplomat and an author. His numerous writings have primarily dealt with the difficulties of being an educated man, a black social worker, a black teacher, and simply a human being in inhumane circumstances.

Mr. Braithwaite was born in Guyana in 1920. His mother and father both graduated from Oxford University. He attended Queen's College in Guyana, City College (now City University of New York) in 1940, and Cambridge University in 1949, where he received a Master's degree in Physics. He has had a long and international career as an educational consultant lecturer for UNESCO, Paris; permanent representative from Guyana to the United Nations; Guyana’s ambassador to Venezuela; and teaching English at New York University.



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