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JM | Jan 25, 2023

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles honoured by American peers

/ Our Today

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Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.

The American Historical Association has voted to select Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles as its Honorary Foreign Scholar for 2023.

The award recognises historians working outside the United States for their distinguished scholarship and assistance to American scholars in their country.

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is the second Caribbean scholar to receive the award, following the legendary Cuban historian Manuel M. Fraginals in 1998.

In his acceptance speech, he expressed that, “this award by my American peers is among the
greatest of academic honours, which I accept on behalf of The UWI that gave me the opportunity as a
young historian to develop and contribute at the global level.”

The Honorary Foreign Scholar award was presented at the Association’s 2023 ceremony in Philadelphia
on January 5, 2023.

Vice-Chancellor at the University of the West Indies, Sir Hilary Beckles. (Photo: CARICOM.org)

Past President of the Association, and Distinguished Professor at University of Wisconsin, James H. Sweet
noted, “it is the judgement of the Association that the contribution of Professor Beckles, to historical
scholarship, his efforts to internationalise historical study, and his crucial role as a mentor to other
scholars does great honour to the discipline.”

Professor Sweet added that, “in addition to his superb scholarship, activism, and administrative
work at The UWI, Beckles has been a selfless supporter of scholars from around the world, including the
United States.”

Over the course of his career, Beckles has provided support to U.S. professors and graduate students conducting research in the Caribbean. He has served as Council Member for the Institute of Early American History and Culture and as an international editor for the Journal of American History.

The 2023 honour also follows Professor Beckles’ 2022 appointment as the President’s Honorary Visiting Distinguished Scholar at Cornell University, for six years.

The Association has annually recognised a foreign scholar since 1885, and the list includes the most
acclaimed international historians. Beginning with Leopold von Ranke (1885), it showcases well-known
names such as George Trevelyan (1944), Sir Winston Churchill (1963), Fernand Braudel (1966), Eric
Hobsbawm (1994) and Ramachandra Guha (2019).

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