Citizens in Trinidad and Tobago were the first to celebrate IMD on the 19th November, 1999. The event was conceived and coordinated by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, history lecturer from the University of West Indies and the first event was held at the Families in Action Headquarters in Newtown, Port of Spain. In following years the event was jointly coordinated by Dr. Teelucksingh and Harrack Balramsingh, Chairman of Citizens for a Better Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT).
Dr. Teelucksingh chose the date partly to coincide with his father's birthday, whom he felt was an excellent male role model, and also because it was the day in which the football team in his country created a level of unity which crossed gender, religious and ethnic divisions. He added, "I realized there was no day for men... some have said that there is Father's Day, but what about young boys, teenagers and men who are not fathers?"
Early objectives of IMD proposed by Dr. Teelucksingh were 1. Improving gender relations between men and women, 2. Addressing problems and challenges of men, 3. Promoting gender equality, 4. Highlighting positive role models, and 5. Creating a safer, better world. Of these he emphasised the importance of positive male role models, "not just movie stars and sports men but everyday, working class men who are living decent, honest lives". He also suggested there had developed an unfair practice of 'stereotyping' and 'unfairly branding' males as perpetrators of violence in homes and in society, and said that this was one of the issues he hoped to start addressing.
The idea of celebrating an International Men's Day received written support from U.N. officials in UNESCO and the event has continued to be celebrated annually in Trinidad and Tobago and other countries since it's beginning.
Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh - founder of International Men's Day
"International Men’s Day has the potential to become the global medium to heal our world. The concept and themes of IMD are designed to give hope to the depressed, faith to the lonely, comfort to the broken-hearted, transcend barriers, eliminate stereotypes and create a more caring humanity. Since its inception, IMD has blossomed into a movement which promotes goodwill and positively transformed the lives of many persons. Every year I am overjoyed to witness and read testimonies of persons who genuinely believe that the observance of IMD has resulted in greater stability in their lives and guided them from darkness into light." Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh - 2009
(right) The first IMD observance in November 1999 - Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh at top
(far right) some attendees at IMD 2004
a group of attendees from at the first IMD, 1999
International Men's Day - 2011
TT and the world celebrate Men’s Day
By VERDEL BISHOP Thursday, November 19 2009
TODAY is International Men’s Day (IMD) and Trinidad and Tobago will be joining the rest of the world in celebrating men and their contributions to society.
The theme for IMD 2009 is “Promoting Positive Role Models” and this is a time to reflect on the contributions, sacrifices and progress made by men in society and focuses on improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, producing responsible males and highlighting positive male role models.
IMD was founded in November 1999, by Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, a lecturer at the University of West Indies (UWI). Since then, various men’s groups have jointly coordinated with Teelucksingh in observance of the IMD. The observance has received support from the United Nations through UNESCO.
In a recent statement, Teelucksingh noted that IMD is “a call for international collaboration to address the challenges and problems men face such as improving gender relations between men and women; promoting gender equality; highlighting positive male role models – not just movie stars and athletes – but everyday working class men who are living decent, honest lives; and creating a safer and better world”.
Teelucksingh said he founded IMD because it coincided with his father’s birthday and was also the day in 1989 when the Strike Squad foot ball team created a level of pride and unity which crossed gender, religious and ethnic divisions. Teelucksingh said more must be done to reach out to marginalised, alienated and disadvantaged men who feel they have been abandoned and have fallen through the cracks.
Teelucksingh said often law and society is insensitive towards men: “Men must understand that there is support for them. They must know where to turn to reach out for help, they must understand how to create a more peaceful society.
“This day is for all men – for men who are handicapped, men of different religions classes and ethnic groups, young and old men. Too often society has unjustly judged men as being perpetrators of crimes and unjustly judged men as being responsible for a lot of society’s ills. But there is a reason for a reaction and we have to find out what these reasons are.
Samuel Alexander, President of Husbands Club of Trinidad and Tobago, lauded Teelucksingh’s efforts in commemorating such a day
He said: “IMD is an occasion to remind ourselves that men are human, that they experience pain, emotions and tears, and that they deserve our love, care, protection and support every day. kudos to Jerome Teelucksingh who founded IMD.
In November 2009 Dr. Teelucksingh and other members of the IMD Coordination Committee formally ratified the core objectives of International Men's Day. The Objectives were ratified to protect the central values of IMD and to offer a reliable reference point for future celebrants.
OBJECTIVES OF INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY
The ‘6 Pillars’ of International Men’s Day
1. To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but everyday, working class men who are living decent, honest lives.
2. To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment
3. To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
4. To highlight discrimination against males; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law
5. To improve gender relations and promote gender equality.
6. To create a safer, better world; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.
ENDORSED BY THE INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY COORDINATION COMMITTEE
Trinidad & West Indies: Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, Founder - International Men's Day
Australia: Jason Thompson, Global Promotions Coordinator - International Men's Day
Australia: Warwick Marsh, Media Coordinator - International Men's Day
India: Uma Challa, International Men's Day Coordinator for India
USA: D.A. Sears, International Men's Coordinator for USA
- 'UWI student hosts seminar', by Roger D Ramcharitar, Nov 19, (1999) ''Newsday'' editorial
- 'Small Crowd for Men's Day', by Rian Williams, Dec 1st, (2002) The Probe Weekly
- 'Tomorrow is International Men's Day', Nov 18 (2000) ''Newsday'' article
- International Men’s Day observed for the 4th consecutive year in TT, CBTT Article Nov 20, 2002
- ‘Addicts need treatment, not jail’ Article- The Trinidad Guardian 29 Nov 2007
- 'UNESCO comes out in Support of International Men's Day', Article Trinidad Guardian Nov 20, 2001
- Fax from UNESCO- Director Women and a Culture of Peace Ms Ingeborg Breines, 13 July 1999
- Email communication Between Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh and Jason Thompson
- Core Objectives of International Men's Day - by Diane Sears December 2009
- TT and the world celebrate Men’s Day, NEWSDAY November 19 2009