Trinidad-born economist Winston Chandarbhan Dookeran last week received the Prevasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) from Indian President Pranab Mukherjee for outstanding public service in the practice of development and diplomacy.
Dookeran who served in the former Trinidad and Tobago government of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as foreign minister and finance minister and is a former governor of the country’s Central Bank, was the lone person of Caribbean origin among 30 who received the award at a ceremony in the Indian ciity of Bengaluru.
The PBSA is one of the highest honours given to people of Indian origin residing overseas.
In a message to awardees, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was always special to connect with the Indian Diaspora who have made India proud on the world stage with India’s values and cultures being spread to every part of the world
“The Government of India is doing everything possible to further deepen the outreach with the Diaspora. From strengthening processes at our embassies and consulates to facilitating easier travel to India, the Government of India is working to further deepen the bond with our vibrant Diaspora,” Modi said.
Described as an author on development issues in the award citation, Dookeran, a graduate of the University of Manitoba and the London School of Economics and Political Science.has been promoting his ‘Theory of Convergence’ for economic integration ” as means of effecting momentous change in countries from their state of inertia to tectonic political and economic shifts.”
He sees the theory as essential to cementing a position of sustainability for economies of all sizes.
Following Dookeran’s acceptance of the. PSBA, he noted that “this award had its genesis in the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi to world freedom
“I am humbled that I am a recipient of this prestigious recognition of the struggle for freedom, especially now as the world conflicts undermine the values of the sacredness of human life itself,” he added.
A former visiting fellow/ scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, Dookeran says that uncertainty over the direction of US trade policy under President-elect Donald Trump has reinforced the urgent quest for new models of trade expansion and an inter-connected world