The launch of the Elma Francois Institute for Research took place on Monday 11th June at the CLR James Auditorium. Coordinator, Akins Vidale, in his presentation of the Institute discussed the reasons for the selection of Elma Francois as the patron. He started by taking the audience back to her sedition trial in 1937 where under cross examination she was asked why she kept making speeches which were “causing disaffection among his Majesty’s subjects”. Francois’ responded by saying: “I don’t know that my speeches create disaffection, I know that my speeches create a fire in the minds of the people so as to change the conditions which now exist”.
The team responsible for naming the Institute felt that Elma Francois’ words embodied the focus of the College. They were of the view that the College must ignite fires within the minds of its students so that they would be driven to be change agents in their respective environments. The feature address, titled “The Man called Nello : Perspectives on CLR James”, was delivered by Bukka Rennie.