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In Memoriam: Angela Cropper

29/11/2012

Former IDRC Governor Angela Cropper, a leading environmental policy expert who worked tirelessly for a sustainable future, died in London, UK, on November 12, 2012. She was 66.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, the sixth of 12 children, Cropper was known for her intelligence, integrity, and deep commitment to leaving the world a better place.

From 2008 to 2011, she served as United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme. Before then, she worked in various capacities for the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Development Programme, among other organizations.

IDRC Board Chairperson Barbara McDougall said the Centre benefited greatly from Cropper’s wealth of experience during her 2005–2008 tenure on the Board of Governors. Recalling her warmth and wisdom, former IDRC Governor Andy Knight said she was “an inspiration to me and many other Caribbean-born individuals who followed her career with interest.”

‘Caribbean icon’

Cropper earned degrees in development economics and international law from The University of the West Indies. When she received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the university in 2009, she traced the accolade back to her mother’s decision “to allow and enable a girl child to get an education.” Cropper was the first of her siblings to attend secondary school and, later, university.

Throughout my life I have been conscious of that privilege, and tried to shoulder the responsibility and meet the expectations that came with that investment in me,” she said.

In 2002, she was surprised to be appointed to the Senate of the Trinidadian Parliament, but accepted the challenge and served for five years. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who is Trinidad and Tobago’s first woman Prime Minister, called her “an outstanding female role model and a Caribbean icon.”

Cropper Foundation

Cropper and her husband, the late British-born agricultural consultant John Cropper, set up a foundation in memory of their only child, Dev. Based in Port of Spain, the Cropper Foundation continues to promote environmental education and better resource management in the Caribbean and beyond.

The Croppers also endowed the Dev Cropper Memorial Award at the London School of Economics, where their son had been a student. The award is given annually to a public-spirited undergraduate who reaches “beyond the personal sphere to help others.” In marking the Cropper Foundation’s 10th anniversary, Angela Cropper wrote that “giving back is not a luxury; it is a responsibility.”

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