Ameena Gafoor Institute goes global

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
A photo from the website’s gallery: Stanley Field Expedition to British Guiana, 1922. The Field Museum Library

The Ameena Gafoor Institute (AGI) was created from scratch in March 2020 under the directorship of Professor David Dabydeen. The Institute was formally launched at the House of Lords, UK Parliament in October 2021.

An Academic Advisory Board consisting of 40 scholars worldwide was established.

Honorary Patrons of distinction were selected and appointed. These include Lord Bikhu Parekh, Professor Uma Mesthrie (Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter) and Dr Patricia Rodney (the widow of Dr Walter Rodney).

A website ( was created which is the only such in existence worldwide and is very extensive. The website contains the most comprehensive Bibliography in existence. Practically every book or article published on Indentureship is listed, and the Bibliography is updated monthly.

The Journal of Indentureship and its Legacies was established, and editors appointed (Professor David Dabydeen, Professor Amar Wahab and Dr Maria del Pilar Kaladeen). There are two issues of the Journal every year and so far, the Journal has published six issues (2021-today), on historical and contemporary matters. The Journal has so far published the work of more than 26 scholars, writers and artists. The Journal is an Open Access title, meaning that is freely available on the internet to readers worldwide. Both the website and the Journal receives a few thousand views a month.

Formal partnerships were created with the Universities of Cambridge, Bonn (Germany), Paderborn (Germany) and Sunway University (Malaysia) and the Institute is in the process of establishing relationships with universities in India, Pakistan. A wide range of formal and regular contacts take place with Universities in Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, Trinidad and Guyana.

Cambridge University, in partnership with the Ameena Gafoor Institute, has now set up Visiting Fellowships in Indentureship Studies, the first such in any University worldwide, and is planning to create a permanent Professorship in Indentureship Studies.

The Ameena Gafoor Institute has, in the past two years had 65 joint webinars with Bonn University, Paderborn University and the Indo Caribbean Cultural Centre (Trinidad), with talks given by 160 scholars from Guyana, South Africa, Fiji, India, Pakistan Mauritius, the United States, Canada, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad. In 2023, the Ameena Gafoor Institute invited Shashi Tharoor, India’s leading public intellectual, to give an in- person lecture at Cambridge University on Dr Ambedkar, the great scholarly leader of the Dalits in India, and Tharoor’s lecture, when put on the Internet was viewed by 930,000 people, the largest audience in the recorded history of Cambridge University.

The work done so far by the Ameena Gafoor Institute is in furtherance of Ameena’s work and vision for the arts, history and education. [Press Release]