VOLUME 2 • ISSUE 3

EUGENIA
CHARLES


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NAME

Eugenia Charles
Also known as Dame Mary Eugenia Charles DBE, Miss Charles, Mamo, and Iron Lady of the Caribbean

BORN:
Mary Eugenia Charles
15th May 1919
Pointe Michel, Dominica

PROFESSION

Politician, lawyer

FAMILY

PARENTS:
John Baptiste Charles and Josephine Charles née Delauney

SIBLINGS:
Rennie, Jane Mary and Lawrence

EDUCATION

1933–35 Convent of the Faithful Virgin (later known as Convent High School), Roseau, Dominica
1936–39 St. Joseph’s Convent, St. George's, Grenada
1942–46 University College of the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
1947–49 London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England

DEGREES:
1933 Pitman Shorthand—Typing Speed (London Chamber of Commerce), Convent of the Faithful Virgin, Roseau, Dominica
Cambridge School Certificate, Convent of the Faithful Virgin, Roseau, Dominica
1946 B.A. (Honours) in law, University College of the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
1949 LLB, Law and Juvenile delinquency, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England

CAREER

Director of the Dominica Cooperative Bank
1947 Called to the Bar at the Inner Temple, London
1969 Co-founded the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) and is elected President
1970 Nominated to be a Member of the House of Assembly
Chair of the Advisory Board of the Extra Mural Department (now the School of Continuing Studies) of the University of the West Indies in Dominica
1975 Won the Roseau Central seat to become Leader of Opposition
1977 Attended the Constitutional Conference for independence, Marlborough House, London
1979 Became member of the Committee for National Salvation (CNS)
1980 Became Prime Minister of Dominica when the DFP won elections; appointed Minister for Finance, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry
1981 Was Dominica’s signatory to the Treaty of Basseterre establishing the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
1985 Won the Roseau Central seat when the DFP won the elections, re-elected Prime Minister; re-appointed Minister for Finance and Foreign Affairs
1987 Elected President of the ACP Council of Ministers
Became a member of the Council of the University of the West Indies
1990 Won Roseau Central seat when the DFP is re-elected; , re-elected Prime Minister; appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Economic Affairs, Minister of Defence
Appointed President of the International Federation of Women (FIDA)
Elected Head of the Francophone Group of Countries
1991 Knighted as Dame of the Order of Bath (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II at Harare, Zimbabwe during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference
Made chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

AWARDS

1991 Golden Star of the Caribbean Award, La Cuencia del Caribe magazine, Puerto Rico
1996 Honorary degree, Doctor of Laws (LLD), University of the West Indies
2002 London School of Economics and Political Science Honorary Fellowship
2003 Order of the Caribbean Community conferred by the heads of government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom)

NOTABLE

1949 First woman to practise as a lawyer in Dominica
First Dominican woman to practise as a lawyer
1980 First female Prime Minister in the Caribbean

DIED

6th September 2005
Fort-de-France, Martinique
Pulmonary embolism, a complication after hip replacement surgery