Nita Barrow was
born in 1916 into a family of civic activists. Dame Nita was a practicing
adult educator throughout a long professional career that spanned half a
century. She worked or resided in almost every territory of the Caribbean.
Her family had its roots in three Caribbean territories: St.
Vincent-and-the-Grenadines, Tobago, and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin
in her early years by the humanitarian values of her father and uncle,
Dame Nita chose nursing as a profession from among the limited number of
careers then available to women. She completed her basic training at the
Barbados General Hospital and immediately after undertook training in
midwifery at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital in neighboring Trinidad. A
graduate in nursing from Columbia University, New York, Dame Nita was also
a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, holding graduate degrees from the
University of Toronto, Canada and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
1964 her career took a significant turn when she became Nursing Adviser
for the Caribbean Area with the Pan American Health Organization. In this
capacity she served as principal adviser to sixteen Caribbean governments.
She initiated and coordinated an extensive research program on nursing
education, which culminated in a comprehensive revision of nursing
education in the region.
1975, Dame Nita became Director of the Christian Medical Commission of the
World Council of Churches. Dame Nita was president of the International
Council of Adult Education (ICAE) from 1982 until 1990. In 1983, she
traveled to six provinces of the People's Republic of China, with a team
from the ICAE, seeking to evaluate Chinese approaches to workers'
education. During this visit she co-chaired, with Chinese officials, a
series of seminars on adult education.
the presidencies of three major international bodies to her credit she
recalled with special satisfaction, her challenging appointment in 1983 as
Convenor of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Forum for the Decade
of Women in Nairobi, Kenya. Her management of 17,500 delegates from 177
organizations and almost every known culture earned her international
Dame Nita was recipient of many honors and awards. In 1980 she was invested with the Order of Dame of St. Andrew in recognition of outstanding service to the people of the Caribbean and the Commonwealth. In 1987 she was awarded the CARICOM Women's Award for her personal accomplishments and the stature she brought to women of the Caribbean. In her honor, the ICAE created the prestigious Dame Nita Barrow Award, which recognizes and supports regional or national adult education organizations that have made a significant contribution towards the empowerment of women. Barrow brought great wisdom and experience to the field of adult education, her legacy informed by a lifelong commitment to people's struggle for learning, justice, and democracy. Dame Nita Barrow died in Barbados on December 18, 1995.
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