Professor Donald Harris is the sole recipient of the Order of Merit this year, Jamaica’s third highest honor, for his outstanding contributions to national development.
He tops the list of 144 Jamaicans who will receive national honors and awards this year.
Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, Harris has made significant contributions to the field of development economics. He is particularly well known for examining the challenges facing developing countries like Jamaica.
He is also the father of Jamaican Vice President Kamala Harris. Donald Harris was born in Brown’s Town, St. Ann Parish, Jamaica. Harris studied at the University College of the West Indies and received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of London in 1960 and a Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in 1966.
While studying at Berkeley, he met Shyamala Gopalan, a graduate student in nutrition and endocrinology from India. They married in 1963 and had two children, Kamala and Maya Harris. The couple divorced in 1971.
Other recipients this year include Olympic champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah, both of whom will receive the fifth highest honor, the Order of Distinction.