He has achieved a lot in Canada, but this year’s Harry Jerome Trailblazer award recipient, Dr. Anderson Knight, makes it clear that the foundation for his success was laid in his native Barbados.
“It started with my parents who told me to get an education and I would achieve if I was prepared to work hard,” he said. “Those things stuck with me.”
Knight completed his final year of high school in Canada after arriving here in 1977 prior to embarking on an artistic journey encompassing painting and sculpting.
However, he did not get his parents’ full support with his first career choice.
‘They let me know that I could not be a starving artist because that was the perception at the time of people who dabbled in that artistic endeavour,” Knight said. “They told me I should have a back-up plan and that turned out to be political science. I came from a family that was heavily involved in politics so it was sort of easy for me to make that transition.”
Knight graduated from McMaster University in 1983 with an honours degree in Fine Arts and Political Science, Dalhousie University three years later with a Masters in Political Science and York University in 1995 with a Ph.D. in Political Science with a focus on International Relations.
His first teaching assignment was at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec where he spent five years up until 1998 before moving to the University of Alberta where he served as an associate professor for two years prior to being elevated to full professor a decade ago.
An armed conflict expert, Knight has been the director of the university’s Peace and Post Conflict Studies Certificate program for the past four years. He also served as the first executive director of the New York-based United Nations Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
“Working with the U.N. and international bodies allows me to be involved in policy-making that can have a positive impact on small states,” said the Canadian Consortium for Peace Studies executive board member. “That contribution is just as good as if I was working in a Caribbean arena like Barbados.”
Knight is among 14 Harry Jerome award winners who will be honoured at the 28th annual awards gala on Saturday, April 24 at the Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Road.
The price of admission is $200 and the event starts at 6 p.m.
Tickets can be obtained by calling (416) 504-4097 or by e-mailing the Black Business and Professional Association that administers the awards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous Harry Jerome award winners include former Ontario Lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander, Nova Scotia’s first Black vice regal Mayann Francis, senator Donald Oliver, Leonard Braithwaite who was the first Black Canadian to be elected to a provincial legislature and the first Black bencher, educators Dr. Avis Glaze, Harold Brathwaite and Dr. Inez Elliston, retired politicians Jean Augustine and Alvin Curling, community stalwart Bromley Armstrong, and the late Dr. Rosemary Brown, the first Black woman in Canada to be elected to public office in 1972 in British Columbia, renowned jazz pianist Oscar Peterson and Dr. Douglas Salmon, Canada’s first Black surgeon and the first African-Canadian president of a hospital medical staff.