Statesman, academic, writer, and advocate for the Caribbean regional integration movement
A statesman, academic, prolific writer, and advocate for the Caribbean regional integration movement, Kenneth Hall served as the former governor-general of Jamaica; former pro-vice chancellor and principal of The University of the West Indies; and former deputy secretary-general of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.
He was born on 24 April 1941 to Harry and Beatrice (Campbell) Hall in Lucea, Hanover, Jamaica. He received a Ph.D. in history (1971) and a M.A. in history (1967) from Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada; a postgraduate diploma in international relations from The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago (1967); and a B.A. in history from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica (1966). His early school years were spent at the Rusea’s High School in Jamaica (1953–1960). Academically, Hall rose to the post of pro-vice chancellor and principal of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Mona in 1996. According to the Jamaica Information Service, in “the ten years (1996–2006) at The UWI, the policies he implemented resulted in a significant transformation in academic programmes, physical infrastructure and in student relations on the Campus. He was zealous in his efforts to establish an environment that was conducive to learning; and one that was supported heavily by information and communication technologies.”
He also served as the vice president of Academic Affairs and faculty dean at the State University of New York (SUNY), Old Westbury (1989–1994); professor of American studies at SUNY, Old Westbury (1973– 1994); assistant provost for Academic Programs at SUNY, Albany (1988–1989); adjunct professor of Caribbean studies at SUNY, Albany; assistant provost, SUNY, Oswego (1982–1984); professor of history at SUNY, Oswego; faculty research associate, Syracuse University (1973–1984); and lecturer in history, TheUWI (1972–1973). A proponent of Caribbean regional integration, Hall first worked with the CARICOM Secretariat from 1975 to 1977. He returned to the Caribbean in 1994, where he assumed the post of deputy secretary-general of the Caribbean Community at its Secretariat in Guyana, a post he held for two years. Thereafter, while provice chancellor and principal of The UWI, he also provided guidance to The UWI–CARICOM Institutional Relations Project at the CARICOM Secretariat. A prolific writer, Hall has authored and edited a plethora of works, including: Imperial Proconsul: Sir Hercules Robinson and South Africa, 1881–1889; The Group of 77: Strengthening Its Negotiating Capacity: A Report; The Caribbean Community in Transition: Functional Cooperation as a Catalyst for Change; Intervention, Border and Maritime Issues in CARICOM; The Caribbean Integration Process: A People Centred Approach; CARICOM Options: Towards Full Integration into the World Economy; Survival and Sovereignty in the Caribbean Community; Integration: CARICOM’s Key to Prosperity; Production Integration in CARICOM: From Theory to Action; Rex N: Rex Nettleford Selected Speeches; Integrate or Perish! Perspectives of Leaders of the Integration Movement 1963–2002, and Governance in the Age of Globalisation. For a full selection of his scholarly works, see the Integrationist Caribbean. Hall was appointed governor-general of Jamaica in February 2006 where he “used his office to build national consensus on issues such as youth and education, and the importance of recognizing and rewarding excellence. He is also committed to promoting the importance of a robust moral order and strong civic culture as the essential pillars of social and economic progress. He combined his interest in young people and the promotion of excellence to establish the Governor-General’s Youth Award for Excellence Programme which complements the existing Governor-General’s Achievement Awards” (https://kingshouse.gov.jm/ <https://kingshouse.gov.jm/>). He served in this post for three years, when he chose to step down for health reasons. In 2009 he was appointed honorary distinguished fellow of the Mona School of Business (now the Mona School of Business and Management) at The UWI. Within the public service sector, Hall served as the first chancellor of the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (formerly University College of the Caribbean); chairman of the Caribbean Examination Council; board chairman of the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (J-TEC); and board chairman of the Mona School of Business. He was also appointed honorary director of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP), a non-profit membership organization for persons fifty and over. Over the years Hall has been honored for his outstanding service. In 2004 he was bestowed with the Order of Jamaica, one of the highest Jamaican national honors, for his tremendous contribution to education and regional development. He was also conferred with Jamaica’s second highest national honor, the Order of the Nation, on the occasion of his swearing-in as governor-general in 2006. He was conferred with the Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG) on 6 November 2007 and received the insignia from Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on 30 May 2008. In 2009 Sir Kenneth Hall and Lady Rheima Holding Hall, whom he married in 2004, received the Collar and Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit of Spain, respectively. He has continued to research, write, and present academic papers at conferences internationally.