FADCANIC President Ray Hooker Calls Regional Universities to Narrow Gaps with World Education


06 April 2011

FADCANIC President Ray Hooker Taylor gave an authoritative address March 19 at the inaugural ceremonies of the 2011 academic year at the Siuna Precincts of the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua (URACCAN).

Touching on themes and concepts he has consistently advocated through FADCANIC´s work, Mr. Hooker called the coastal university community to a process of self-examination and embracing of “specific, dynamic and participatory“ outreach actions aimed at reverting the current decay of the Costeño way of life, and “narrowing the existential gaps between the cultures of the Autonomous Regions and the leading cultures around the world.”

In the unhurried, soft-spoken and deliberate manner for which he is known, Mr Hooker put forth the issue of self-responsibility at the very start. He contrasted the Autonomous Regions´ once abundant wealth of natural resources with the extreme levels of poverty of its peoples, including most recently and for the first time ever, the specter of hunger and starvation now haunting many communities of Caribbean Nicaragua.

“Nature and our ancestors were one,” he said. But “this special relationship with nature has been destroyed by us. We are the ones who treat nature as if we were dealing with the vilest of foes. We savagely destroy the forests, the wildlife and the marine life. We poison the soil with chemical substances that destroy all forms of life for hundreds of years. We use explosives that destroy myriads of seafood and other forms of sea life just to get a few pounds of fish.”

Hooker went on to propose that it is no longer intellectually feasible to consider events such as the decimation of the region´s biodiversity, the persistent language barriers among the various ethnic communities and ever-present threat of violent inter-ethnic conflagrations over territorial possessions, the almost pathological levels of criminal, domestic and sexual violence affecting especially indigenous and black youth, women and children, and the real threat of cultural extinction, as separate issues. And he insisted that only the most vigorous combination of efforts and the deepest of mutual understanding amongst families, authorities, peoples and societies of the region will foster the peace, harmony and levels of prosperity to which all aspire.

In this regard, Mr Hooker challenged the Siuna Campus to see its role as the vanguard of Costal intelligentsia in transforming the Mining Triangle region into a “Triangle of Prosperity.” Mr Hooker said this requires that the university effectively become an institution of higher learning predicated on the values of science and scientific research and devoted to discovering, designing and instituting “a model of coexistence” with the environment and within and amongst the various ethnic communities.

He defended the right of every university graduate in the autonomous regions to learn at least three languages —Spanish, Standard English and the language of one our region´s indigenous peoples—, and warned against the possibility of not seizing full control of the Autonomous Education System out of short-sightedness or a misguided fear of not being up to the task of managing such a system.

“The general Education Program and in particular the Bilingual Education Program of URACCAN and of the Indigenous, Afro-descendant, and Mestizo peoples of Caribbean Nicaragua must get up to date with the quality of world education,” he stressed, because “if we do not (catch up with and eventually) overcome the capacity to generate new knowledge that the cutting-edge cultures of the world now have, we will remain a culture threatened with extinction.”

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Dr Cyril Omeir, General Secretary of URACCAN´s University Council was among the university dignitaries attending the inaugural ceremony. He considered Mr Hooker´s lecture “impressive and impacting,” and said the issues he raised resonated among the student and teaching body so much so that Mr Hooker was quoted repeatedly in speeches delivered during ensuing graduation ceremonies at the Siuna campus on March 20.

Dr. Omeir said URACCAN students were particularly impressed by Mr. Hooker´s candid description of the stark realities prevailing in the region and was positive that for many months to come, all present will be pondering his clear call for “more responsible and efficient academic and social actions.”

Click here for the full text of Mr Hooker´s Inaugural Lecture

Click here for more information on URACCAN´s Mining Triangle Precinct

Note:
FADCANIC considers its contributions to the 1995 establishment of the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua among its key achievements in the promotion of quality education for all. FADCANIC president Ray Hooker Taylor is among 21 members of URACCAN´s University Council.

 

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