The University of the West Indies has appointed Jamaica-born Professor Opal Palmer Adisa as the university’s new director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) with effect from August 9, 2017.
She succeeds Professor Verene Shepherd who held the post since 2010.
The holder of a Doctorate in Philosophy in Ethnic Studies/Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, Adisa is an internationally recognised writer, educator, cultural activist and diversity trainer who works with institutions on issues of inclusion and fairness, the UWI said in a release.
Returning to the region having studied and worked abroad, she said, Adisa said, she was to “happy to return home to contribute to gender justice and all other diversity issues which are fundamental and essential to the development of the region.”
She continued, “When we are able to acknowledge, appreciate and provide space for everyone to contribute to her or his full potential, then we have created a society that works for everyone. Our growth and development must be informed by these humanistic values, so we really celebrate our hard-earned independence."
Adisa also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and educational media from Hunter College of the City University of New York, a Master of Arts degree (MA) in English and Creative Writing and an MA in Theatre and Directing, San Francisco State University, California. She and is a Doctor in Philosophy in Ethnic Studies/Literature from the University of California, Berkeley.
Prior to her IGDS appointment, she was a distinguished professor of the master of fine arts programme in writing and diversity studies, a graduate faculty mentor, faculty advisor for the diversity studies programme and supervising faculty member of the undergraduate writing and literature programme at California College of the Arts since 1993.
She also worked as a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the African American Studies Department and other universities including, Stanford and the University of the Virgin Islands.
Adisa’s has authored over twenty scholarly and creative publications that centralise women, explore issues of gender, and the interstice of Caribbean and African diaspora history.
Her poetry, stories, essays and articles have been collected in over 400 journals, anthologies and other publications. She as also lectured and read her work throughout the United States, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Germany, England, and Prague, and performed in Italy and Bosnia.