Dr. Kris Rampersad
Media Cultural and Literary Consultant, Publisher, Researcher, Writer, Policy Analyst, Producer, Educator – National Commission for UNESCO/Network of Non-Governmental Organisations of Trinidad and Tobago
Kris Rampersad is a writer, researcher, lecturer, journalist, publisher, activist and advocate from Trinidad and Tobago.
She is a trained UNESCO consultant in safeguarding Caribbean culture and heritage through its culture conventions related to intangible cultural heritage, world heritage and cultural diversity.
She has a wide range of experience in preparing and executing successful collaborative outreach strategies and producing print and electronic media material for international agencies, governments, private sector, and non-governmental organisations across the world, including through the Commonwealth Foundation, Organisation of American States Active Democracy Network, CIVICUS, the InterAmerican Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture, the National Institute for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute and ACP-EU Institute for Technical Cooperation in Agriculture.
Over the past nine years her focus has been on promoting multi-sectoral approaches to development, and linking academia and the technical/scientific community with politicians, policy makers, media, private sector and NGOs. Her creative and interactive seminar outreach strategies, using modes culturally sensitive to communities in which they are executed to bridge relations between scientific/academic and technical audiences with other stakeholders – politicians, media and civil society – have been successfully adopted by several international organisations.
Her developmental research and policy critiques have been presented to various forums of UNESCO the World Summit of Information Society; World Summit on Arts and Culture, Commonwealth Diversity Conferences, International Conferences on Cultural Policy Research, Chatham House Dialogue of UNESCO, Brussels Briefings of the African-Caribbean and Pacific-European Union-CTA, among others. Her development perspectives on north-south relations and particularly the small island developing states of the Caribbean in international policy have attracted the attention of numerous international bodies.
She holds several awards for her contributions to journalism, and the arts and culture. She holds awards from BWIA, Pan American Health Organisation Award, Moms for Literacy, the Global Organisation of Peoples of Indian Origin, the New Delhi Indian Institute of Mass Communication and the University of the West Indies.
She is author of LiTTscapes – Landscaps of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago which presents how Trinidad and Tobago is represented in the fiction of social realism of its award winning writers as VS Naipaul, Derek Walcott and other through pictoral representation.
She has also authored Through the Political Glass Ceiling – Race to Prime Ministership by Trinidad and Tobago’s First Female – Kamla Persad Bissessar (2010) which contextualises the first female Prime Minister of the Indian Diaspora. It revisions Caribbean politics through its analysis of her rise to premiership the 2010 Trinidad and Tobago general election and assessment of the roles of gender, culture and geo-politics in the clash of political cultures of various migrant streams.
She started as a freelance journalist at the Trinidad Guardian newspapers, before joiingn the staff of the Port of Spain headquarters, where she has worked in various capacities as reporter of health, education, culture and politics. She has written Guardian columns as Discover Trinidad and Tobago, Teenlife, Environment Friendly, In Gabilan,I Beg to Move, The Week That Was, The C Monologues as Literarily.
Kris served as Editor of its U Magazine and Sunday Guardian Editor and holds awards in Journalism (BWIA Media Awards for Excellence in Journalism – Social and Economic Commentary and Pan American Health Journalism Award for Excellence in Health Reporting). She also received a Nuffield Foundation Press Award at Wolfson College, Cambridge University, the Foreign Press Centre of Japan Fellowship and a Government of India ITEC Scholarship to the Indian Institute of Mass Communication where she received its highest, the Rajasthan Patrika Award. Her book Finding A Place explores, among other things, the relationship between journalism and fiction in West Indian literature, tracing antecedents to the works of authors like Seepersad Naipaul, VS Naipaul, Samuel Selvon, Ismith Khan, Dennis Mahabir, among others.
She covered most of the the Jamaat al Muslimeen coup attempt involving activities at the Trinidad and Tobago Television for the Guardian.
Kris was one of the founding journalists at Newsday, following completion of a degree in literature at the University of the West Indies, and as a script and programme writer at AVM Television. At Newsday, Rampersad served as senior journalist and investigative reporter in politics and other social issues. She pioneered columns as Between the Lines.
She has worked as a consultant in media, literature and culture, facilitating seminars and workshops and conducting education and lecture sessions to advance understanding and improve media literacy throughout the Commonwealth, UN and OAS regions.
In 2002, Kris released Finding A Place, a ground breaking study that gives context to much of Naipaul’s perspectives on colonialism, the Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago, placing his writings within the context of some 200 years’ gestation in Trinidad and its peculiar social, economic, political and literary evolution. The book also launched Kris’s publishing label and a foundation to promote more balanced and indigeneous Caribbean research.
In this book, Finding a Place, Kris challenges and rejects the notion of East Indians to describe people in Indian heritage in the Caribbean and traces their migration and adaptation from hyphenated isolation inherent in the description Indo-Trinidadian or Indo-Caribbean for the unhyphenated integration into their societies as IndoTrinidadian and IndoCaribbean that embraces both their ancestral and their national identities.
The book gives special focus on the Indian diaspora in the Caribbean, and makes a case for recognition of an Indo-Caribbean outlook and sensibility in its bird’s eye view of the literary evolution of Trinidad as it emerged from a position of newness to formation and evolution of new cultures. It captures the complex relations between literacy and power, politics, and social and economic mobility of IndoTrinidadians in the evolution of Trinidad society, through the introductions and interactions of peoples of diverse origins. Considered seminal in its unique and in-depth focus to the point of production the globally acknowledged ‘Lord of the English Language’ in Sir Vidia Naipaul, has been appraised by Naipaul himself as ‘revealing much’ about his father that he himself did not know.
She argues that the society’s complex oral and literary antecedents propelled his acclamation as a 20th century Lord of the English language and that his and his predecessors, including his father Seepersad Naipaul, legislator/authors as F.E.M Hosein, Dennis Mahabir, and near contemporaries as Samuel Selvon and Ismith Khan’s early experiences of journalism on the island influenced their leanings towards expanding the literary tradition in social realism tradition. Naipaul himself credited this work in a meeting with Kris on his visit to Trinidad in 2007, acknowledging that Finding a Place revealed aspects of writings by his father.
Kris holds a PhD and BA in Literature from the University of the West Indies, a Diploma in Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and certificates in leadership and management. She is a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, UK the Foreign Press Centre in Japan; and a Commonwealth Professional Fellow.