Prime Minister to Receive Honorary Degree, Address Building Climate Resilient Countries

Duquesne University will award an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Roosevelt Skerrit, prime minister of the Caribbean nation of Dominica, on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

University President Ken Gormley will confer the honorary degree upon Skerrit at 11 a.m. in the Power Center's Charles J. Dougherty Ballroom. Following the degree presentation, Skerrit will deliver the Integrity of Creation Leadership Address, Building Climate Resilient Countries.

Dominica has been on a quest to become the world's first climate-resilient nation since it suffered catastrophic damage by Hurricane Maria in 2017, Tropical Storm Erika in 2015 and numerous other storms. In 2017, Skerrit and the government established the Climate Resilient Execution Agency for Dominica (CREAD), a task force designed to hurricane-proof the island.

According to a recent St. Lucia Times article, Skerrit said the mission of CREAD is to "coordinate all reconstruction work to avoid duplication, maximize economies of scale, spot and fill critical gaps, avoid bureaucratic infighting and ensure all reconstruction activities are focused on a single Climate Resilient Recovery Plan developed by Dominica and its partners." He also said that the agency will reorganize public officers by "exposing them to new technologies and systems in engineering design, project management and procurement to increase their efficiency and effectiveness."

Skerrit's address is co-sponsored by the Center for African Studies and the Presidential Conference on the Integrity of Creation.

"Prime Minister Skerrit will discuss how you rebuild and reconstruct in a manner that makes a country resilient to these catastrophes and these natural disasters," said Dr. Gerald Boodoo, director of the Center for African Studies. "And that is more than simply physical buildings. It's also in terms of education, how people go about thinking about their relationship to the environment and to the land. It's also about political governance, what structures are going to be put into place and how people are going to get access to as well as the financial means to what's creating these new contexts and buildings."

Skerrit became the world's youngest head of government in 2004 when, at age 31, he was sworn in as prime minster after the untimely passing of his predecessor Pierre Charles. He was reappointed in 2005, 2009 and 2014. Skerrit, political leader of the Dominica Labour Party, has been a member of Parliament for the Vielle Case constituency since 2000. He previously served as chairman of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and chairman of the Caribbean Community.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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