About the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre
Opening of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre
The Cheddi Jagan Research Centre was officially opened on March 22, 2000, to commemorate the 82nd Birth Anniversary of Dr. Jagan, at Red House in Georgetown, Guyana. It is privately run by Dr. Jagan's family and friends. An old friend and colleague, Dr. Millette, who is a Professor and Chair in Oberlin College’s Department of African American Studies in the U.S. state of Ohio, delivered the keynote address at the opening.
Dr. Millette’s speech was preceded by an appeal by Dr. Jagan’s daughter, Ms. Nadira Jagan-Brancier, for Guyanese to make full use of the facilities of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, and to send in memorabilia that they may have on Dr. Jagan – taped speeches, videos, photos, etc. – these would be copied and returned or could be donated to the Centre.
Former President and Dr. Jagan’s widow Janet Jagan, later presented Dr. Millette with a publication of the life and work of Dr. Jagan. The ceremony was chaired by University of Guyana history professor Dr. James Rose.
As a memorial to the Jagan’s the Centre will seek to express in its holdings the philosophy, aspirations, preoccupations, the struggle and the accomplishments of Dr. & Mrs. Jagan. But it will be much more than a monument: for an appropriate memorial must also express their vivid concern for the unfinished business of this nation. The Centre includes, in addition to an austere and beautiful Memorial room, three important working components: a Museum, an Archive, and a Conference Centre.
Red House is located on spacious lawns, suitable for open-air activities of all sorts. This advantage is utilized for social activities of the sort associated with the ideals dear to, and fostered by the late Presidents.
The Museum (top floor)
The Museum displays memorabilia of Dr. Jagan and his times - photographs, gifts and objects received - arranged to portray and convey the issues, the accomplishments and the general ethos of the Jagan years.
There is a room where individuals can select one of his speeches on a significant episode of his times, and see a film or hear a tape of the actual event.
There is also a replica of his study where he worked while he lived at State House.
The ultimate goal of the Museum is to make the experience of contemporary history as direct and intense as possible for the visitor - from all walks of life.
The Archives (middle floor)
The Archives houses such important documents as: the personal papers of Dr. Jagan, Mrs. Jagan and his associates; copies of the public records necessary to an understanding of the issues and actions of their Administrations; and transcripts of their many interviews. In addition, there is a collection of books, magazines, newspapers and printed documents bearing upon the Jagan’s and their times. The Archive will hopefully become a Centre for the study of contemporary Guyana, its basic problems in economic development, ethnic and political conflict and reconciliation, national and foreign policy - Guyana's conception of itself and its destiny.
A photographic exhibition chronicles Dr. Jagan life and struggles, starting with photos of his parents, the young Cheddi at age 18 and ends with his funeral in March 1997. A short but detailed history accompanies the historic photographs, which focus on all the important periods of the struggle for independence and the restoration of democracy.
The Archive will have the necessary facilities - such as study rooms, equipment for documentary reproduction, the use of CD ROM and the Internet, and for full use of audiovisual materials.
There is a well documented collection of videos and audio speeches of Dr. Jagan available for public use at the Centre. We are now working on obtaining copies of all the Hansard during the period 1947-1992 when Dr. Jagan was a Member of Parliament. Seven volumes covering the period from 1947-1986 has been completed and is available at the Centre.
The Conference Centre (ground floor)
The Conference Centre will seek to further one of Dr. Jagan's deepest concerns - his continuing attempt to bring together the world of ideas and the world of a affairs, the world of scholarship and the world of political decision making as they co-existed throughout his lifetime.
Its objects will be to enlist Guyanese and interested persons everywhere in an understanding of the history of colonial underdevelopment and anti-colonialism as well as the practice of national development, democratic political statecraft and public service. It will be a living institution, rooted in our past but ever responsive to the needs of the times, both present and future. The Centre will at all times be intensely committed to President Jagan's own spirit of free and rational inquiry.
The Centre offer all the modern facilities of a medium size international auditorium. The facility is available to the Centre as well as the nation.
The Conference Hall is located on the 1st floor of the Centre. It is instrumental in organizing lectures and discussions at all levels to formulate projects that will seek to implement Dr. Jagan’s vision of a New Global Human Order.
The Cheddi Jagan Research Centre in May 2002 presented a one-hour-long BBC film entitled, By any Other Name. The CJRC announced the film as, "A New System of Slavery: Indian Indentured Labour in Guyana, Fiji and South Africa" The Guyana bit in the production was anchored by Dr David Dabydeen and a great grand-daughter of Mahatma Gandhi anchored the South Africa end. The documentary was beautifully done, quite in keeping with standards one associates with the BBC. The screening was very well attended; indeed, there was standing room only by the time the show started.