The Mission of the Rex Nettleford Foundation is to support scholars and programmes that promote the strengthening of West Indian society in the areas of social and cultural development through research, community services and intellectual excellence, to produce young leaders who grasp the importance of public service based on integrity, protection for the weak, and the energy to use their talents for the betterment of humankind.

About Rex Nettleford

REX NETTLEFORD, was a well-known Caribbean scholar, trade union educator, social and cultural historian and political analyst. A former Rhodes Scholar, he was Vice Chancellor Emeritus at The University of the West Indies, Jamaica. After taking an undergraduate degree in History at the UWI he pursued post-graduate studies in Politics at Oxford. He was also the co-founder, artistic director and principal choreographer of the internationally acclaimed National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica and is widely regarded throughout the Caribbean and the Diaspora as a leading authority on development and cultural dynamics.

His intellectual gifts and wise counsel have been generously shared with many heads of Government, not only in Jamaica, but throughout the Caribbean and beyond. Professor Nettleford has been consulted by just about every government in the Caribbean region (including the non-English speaking countries) and has served in an advisory capacity to several international organizations, including CARICOM, the Organization of American States, UNESCO, the ILO, the World Bank and the International Development Research Council (IRDC) of which he is a founding director. His gift of erudition, combined with his inability to decline appeals for contributions of his talent in this area, resulted in his maintenance of a speaking schedule that would daunt normal mortals.

My own interest is largely the full quest of maximizing the resources of the human being, our creative imagination, our creative intellect. I believe very strongly that in the final analysis, it is the capacity of the human being to act, to think, to do, that will make anything work.

Rex Nettleford

Books by/about Rex

A selection of books by/about Rex Nettleford.

Mirror Mirror

Dance Jamaica: Renewal and Continuity, The National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica

Jamaica Labrish

THE REX NETTLEFORD FOUNDATION, which was established on May 28, 2010 aims to source funding for projects to provide opportunities for young people to help them to understand the importance of exploring the creative imagination; strengthen their own sense of selfworth and self-expression and thus ensure the renewal of the human spirit.

The objects for which the Foundation was established include:
• to facilitate and support the advancement of studies in the areas of culture, the arts, politics and trade unionism;
• to initiate and maintain a collection of the works of Professor Rex Nettleford as well as works about Professor Nettleford which meet the Foundation’s approval, and where appropriate, arrange for suitable publications;
• to award competitive scholarships in the name of Rex Nettleford to outstanding students to pursue postgraduate studies in the areas of culture, the arts, politics, trade unionism or public sector management at The University of the West Indies or Oriel College, Oxford University or
any other institutions approved by the Board;
• to endow a Chair in the name of Professor Rex Nettleford in the field(s) of cultural and/or social studies, established by The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus;
• to support promising students who are in need of financial assistance to advance their education at The University if the West Indies or to receive training in the performing arts at the tertiary level;
• to support special projects designed to encourage and promote the exploration and expression of the creative imagination and the development of sound values, including self-respect and civility, in new generations of students and young people;
• to encourage research on the body of work of Professor Rex Nettleford and facilitate the publication of the research results;
• to facilitate the exchange, between The University of the West Indies and other institutions, of scholars engaged in research and/or teaching in the fields of culture, the arts, politics and trade union studies

In 2003, the centenary year of the Rhodes Scholarship, when the University of Oxford conferred honorary degrees on four prominent Rhodes Scholars from around the world, Rex Nettleford was one of the chosen four. The citation described him as “a Vice-Chancellor, a man of the greatest versatility: effective in action, outstanding in erudition, and most supple in the dance.” And in the following year, the Rhodes Trust established the Rex Nettleford Fellowship in Cultural Studies, not least to “honour Rex’s distinguished contribution to higher education and the cultural life of the Caribbean.” To quote another distinguished Rhodes Scholar, his friend Ian MacDonald, he will remain in cherished memory, as he was in life “as sparkling as the morning sun.”


Rex Nettleford was a prince among us: a prince who conquered through ideas and not by force of arms. He had a tenacity of purpose that was often shrouded in his quiet but impressive demeanor and was evinced in a prolific intellectual productivity befitting a prince of academia. Above all, he had a burning, almost consuming passion for The University of the West Indies as a regional institution, and it was a rooted part of his credo that our academic institutions had a major role in helping us to understand and appreciate the essences of our being and our personas, to understand our Caribbean culture. Thank you, sweet “Black Prince.” We will ensure that your legacy lives on for our sake and for the sake of generations to come.