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Triennial Award |
|| Dame Ruth Nita Barrow
In any consideration
of exceptional women of the Caribbean, the name
Dame Nita Barrow, second recipient of the CARICOM
Triennial Award, assumes much significance. A
distinguished and highly celebrated Caribbean
citizen, the late Dame Ruth Nita Barrow gave extraordinary
service to Barbados, her country of birth, and
the region as a whole and is revered as one of
the outstanding regional leaders of all time.
Dame Nita Barrow’s calling to service in
the health care field commenced with a career
in nursing, one of the few options open to young
women in her time. From nursing to health care
administration she progressed to a remarkable
and illustrious career in Public Health and Heath
Education which transported her into the spotlight
of the international arena. Her appointment in
1964 as Nursing Adviser to the World Health Organisation
(WHO) and subsequently to the Pan American Health
Organisation (PAHO) availed her the wonderful
opportunity to serve the Region she loved as principal
adviser to sixteen Caribbean governments and sparked
off a long productive career in the UN System.
Dame Barrow was recognized internationally as
an authority on Public Health and Health Education,
producing several publications on issues pertaining
to health care. The scholastic career of this
eminent daughter of the Caribbean included graduate
degrees from the University of Toronto and the
University of Edinborough.
A strong Christian and daughter of an Anglican Priest, Dame Barrow
lived a spiritually anchored life, pursuing the provision of adequate
health care out of her deep concern for the welfare of humanity. She
was appointed Director of the Christian Medical Commission on the World
Council of Churches in 1975. Dame Barrow is acclaimed for her active
involvement in and strong advocacy for women’s rights, particularly
the right to adequate health care. Through service within the United
Nations and other engagements of her international career she consistently
represented the condition of women and disadvantaged groups with the
hope of alleviating manifestations of poverty in their daily lives.
Participation in activities to mark the UN Decade for Women and her
appointment as Director of the Global Forum for Women generated further
opportunities for Dame Barrow to advocate and provide leadership in
the interest of women.
Dame Nita Barrow earned a stellar reputation in her career in the
diplomatic community. From 1986 – 1990 she functioned as Ambassador
and Permanent Representative of Barbados to the UN, a prelude to her
appointment as Governor-General of Barbados from 1990 –1995.
Dame Barrow’s life of dedicated service accorded her the honour
of representation on numerous international bodies including several
UN Groupings on the Environment and as a Member of the Earth Council.
In recognition of her life of exemplary leadership and service to the
region’s women and its peoples in general Dame Barrow has the
distinction of being the first Caribbean woman to be accorded membership
of the Order of the Caribbean Community in 1994. Other awards deservedly
granted in the service of others include the Caribbean Prize for Peace
Through Struggle For Justice in 1986. She was honoured as Dame of St.
Andrew and Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St.
Michael and St. George.