DAME CALLIOPA PEARLETTE LOUISY
GCSL, GCMG, D. St. J, Ph. D., LLD. (Hon)
Governor – General 1997-
Her Excellency Dame Calliopa Pearlette Louisy was born in the southern village of Laborie, St. Lucia in 1946. She received her early education at the Laborie Girls’ Primary School, from which she proceeded on a Javouhey Scholarship to St. Joseph’s Convent Secondary School in January 1960. On completion of her secondary education, she joined the staff of St. Joseph’s Convent in September 1965.
She began her university education in October 1966, having obtained a scholarship from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to read for a Bachelors Degree in English and French at the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill in Barbados. In 1972, she was awarded another scholarship under the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan to read for a Masters Degree in Linguistics at Laval University in Quebec City. In 1991, she took up studies at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom where she read for a Ph. D in Education. Her doctoral studies focused on the management and provision of tertiary education in small states. In 1999, the University of Bristol bestowed on her the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. The University of Sheffield and the University of the West Indies has also conferred on her the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.
Her Excellency’s early professional life was spent in the field of education. She was first exposed to classroom teaching when she served as a pupil teacher at the Laborie Infant School while she waited for an opportunity to begin her secondary school education. She then served on the staff of the St. Joseph’s Convent from 1965 – 1966, 1969 – 1972 and 1975 – 1976. From 1976 to 1981 she was the tutor of French at the St. Lucia ‘A’ Level College and from 1981 to 1986 she served as Principal. When the ‘A’ Level College was merged with sister institutions of the Morne Educational Complex to form the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, she served from 1987 as Dean of the Division of Arts, Science and General Studies, then as Vice Principal and later as Principal, a position she held until her appointment as Governor – General in September 1997.
She continues her research in education and small state issues and her articles on these topics have been published in international journals and publications. She has held executive positions on a number of organizations at the local, regional and international levels: among these, the International Committee on Creole Studies, the Organization for Cooperation in Overseas Development, the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation, the Association of Caribbean Tertiary Institutions, the Independent Committee for OECS Unity, the Mouvman Kweyol Sent Lisi, the Folk Research Centre. She served as one of the consultants to the Government of the British Virgin Islands and the European Economic Delegation in the Caribbean in the preparation of a Strategic Plan for the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. Since her appointment as Governor – General, she has delivered lectures both at home and aboard on topics ranging from education, jurisprudence, business, and language development.
She complements her abiding interest in education with a love for culture and the Performing Arts. She was an active member of the Creative and Performing Arts Society, the New Day Theatre Movement, and the Bel Canto Choral Group. She continues to spearhead the promotion of research into the creole culture and language.
In 1998, Her Excellency was nominated International Woman of the Year by the International Biographical Centre. In 1999, she was honoured by Her Majesty the Queen with the award of Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George and in 2001 was made a Dame of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.
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