Little Vincy boy storms Iranian university
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April 16, 2013

Little Vincy boy storms Iranian university

by Contributor Tue Apr 16, 2013

Recently, there has been a lot of talk (some say hogwash) about the “insignificance” of SVG, and by extension Vincentians. So much so that some (who have publicly declared that realization of their dreams of self-aggrandizement is occupation of the office of Prime Minister of this 2×4 archipelago), appear to have justified imperialist mercenaries proclaiming to be journalists, rudely shoving microphones in the face of our honourable Prime Minster, Dr Gonsalves, demanding that he admits to corruption of which he claims innocence.{{more}} Debunking this foolhardy political nonsense by some, are Vincentians all over this globe contributing to the well-being of all humankind without the self-importance ever present in those who daily, unashamedly discredit the country they so vehemently insist they must rule. One such Vincy, who toils, ever mindful that the Vincy flag must never be soiled, but proudly flutter in the winds of pride and industry, is Dr Richard A. Byron-Cox.

This Vincentian, a more than 15-year veteran international civil servant, recently took the Kharazmi University of Iran literally by storm. Byron-Cox who was in Iran as head of a United Nations team that included experts from China, Finland and Norway (so much for the insignificance of Vincies), was invited to the Iranian university as a special guest lecturer. After his discourse on “Why we must choose the path of sustainable development,” the students and lecturers, who had been held spellbound for one hour engaged the “Little Vincy Boy,” -as Byron-Cox usually refers to himself when in these circles, for another three hours, addressing him as professor, ignoring his insistence that he possesses no such title.

Byron-Cox later confessed that while he was surprised to have received the invitation, this being Iran, he was in no way taken aback by the response of the more than 400-strong students, lecturers and professors that comprised his audience. Princess Monique is right, he affirms, “We Vincies may be small as a nation, but when we pull all the stops, SVG is tops!” The Vincentian, international law specialist, author and diplomat has been a guest lecturer in universities around the world. Students and teaching bodies of universities as far apart as Lesotho National University in Africa, to Yonsie University in Seoul, South Korea, have received his lectures with acclaim. Indeed the Little Vincy Boy has received at least two invitations to take a Chair. However, due to his commitment to what he is presently doing at the United Nations, he has declined these offers of professorship.

Dr Byron-Cox is the Action Programme Alignment and Capacity Building Officer of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. In this role he helps to design and facilitate the implementation of national action and capacity building programmes for 168 countries around the world. Fulfilling the responsibilities of this post demands, inter alia, visits to diverse parts of the globe, hence his recent sojourn in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He, however, underlines that what he loves most about his work is the opportunity it offers to develop and implement new concepts and ideas. The latest of these is the creation of the world’s first global marketplace on capacity building for sustainable land management. This innovation was not only conceptualized and designed by the Little Vincy Boy, he spearheads its development, and day-to-day management.

The Vincentian international relations expert and linguist admits that academic work was and remains his first love. But, it would have to wait for the time being, even if he is presently receiving invitations from various universities. He declares, “My present role gives me a chance to leave a mark of recommendation for the Vincies that may follow in this path of international service. I am determined to play my part to ensure that SVG shall be synonymous with the phase that ‘good things comes in small packages.’ After all, I am not very big in stature.” But academia still holds its pull on him, evidenced by the fact that he is scheduled to take up a visiting professorship at the United Nations University for Peace Asia Centre this summer. There he will lecture on “Environmental Justice and Social Movements”, for the entire month of June.

There can be no doubt that this Little Vincy Boy is hell bent on bringing pride and honour to his homeland and its people. He says that he is constantly reminded that citizen is an office of the highest honour, and therefore must never be diminished, especially when you are a representative of your people; worse still, that the image of the country should be tarnished, callously sacrificed on the altar of political expedience. He is therefore determined never to deface the character, nobility and image of his nation. Rather, his task is to help polish this, the gem of the Antilles. His conviction verbatim, “I concord fully with the proclamation of our national anthem, that this is a ‘land so beautiful.’ So it is with a joyful heart I pledge my love.”