The Caribbean’s Sir Shridath Ramphal, Commonwealth Secretary-General from 1975 to 1990, has received the Commonwealth Life Time Achievement Award 2013 at a Gala Ceremony in London on Thursday June 27, 2013.
Guyana-born, Sir Shridath, is the second recipient of the award which was bestowed on the legendary Nelson Mandela last year.
Organised by Nexus Strategic Partnerships, the award was delivered to Sir Shridath by the present Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma before an audience of some 200 persons representing various organisations in the Commonwealth.
The citation of the Award recalled that “Nelson Mandela said of Sir Shridath that he is one of those men who have become famous because in their fight for human justice, they have chosen the entire world as their theatre”.
It continued, “Elected three times by Commonwealth Heads of Government, he served for 15 momentous years as Commonwealth Secretary-General – the only person to have so enjoyed the confidence and trust of leaders over so long a time.
He placed the Commonwealth at centre-stage in the common challenges that confronted the world and he effectively fashioned a consensus that allowed the Commonwealth – even though it could not negotiate for the world – to help the world to negotiate.
Under his stewardship, the Commonwealth tackled the issues of poverty and development, of climate change and disarmament, of bridging the divide between countries of the North and South and seeking new paths for international co-operation.
He believes in the oneness of humanity. He led an unremitting Commonwealth struggle against racism in Southern Africa and in particular against apartheid in South Africa. He led that struggle with political acumen – often appealing to people over the heads of reluctant leaders – and bound together the Commonwealth’s values of democracy and development. and of human rights and human advancement.
At the Commonwealth Secretariat, he focussed on change and renewal – constantly ensuring that the Commonwealth was relevant not only to the people of its own member states but also to the global community.
The Commonwealth owes more than it can repay to the tireless endeavours and creative statesmanship of the recipient of the 2103 Commonwealth Life Time Award Sir Shridath Ramphal”.