Fri | Sep 21, 2018

GK Foundation annual lecture to bring humour and laughter

Published:Friday | March 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
Dr Michael Abrahams

There's some scientific veracity behind the old adage, 'laughter is the best medicine.'

Studies have found that laughter has healing properties and is contagious. Dr Michael Abrahams, well-known comedian and gynaecologist obstetrician, will explore Humour, Laughter and Life when he takes centerstage at the 2017 GraceKennedy Foundation Lecture on March 8 at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

The 2009 World Happiness Index ranked Jamaica the third-happiest country in the world. Just seven years later, 2016, the ranking moved to 73. Abrahams' presentation will examine how humour and laughter positively impact the quality, health and happiness of one's life and the nation as a whole.

According to Caroline Mahfood, executive director of the GraceKennedy Foundation, the foundation wanted a topic that is relevant to the country at this time.

"We are facing a lot as a country. The crime rate is skyrocketing and we want people to become less volatile and aggressive and live healthier by laughing more," Mahfood said.

Mahfood indicated that humour being one of the cheapest forms of health care can prevent persons from having to go to the doctor very often.

"Many times, instead of going to the doctor for stress-related issues persons can work on being happy and not so intense," she said.


A project of the GraceKennedy Foundation, the annual public lecture series is highly regarded and has had national impact, with several of the lectures becoming important sources for reference in different fields.

A number of books have been assigned as texts at both the University of the West Indies and the University of Technology. Two titles have been in constant demand by schools and the general public and have had to be reprinted. These are Elsa Leo-Rhynie's The Jamaican Family: Continuity and Change; and Don Robotham's Vision and Volunteerism.

Each year the foundation invites a person of distinction to lecture on a subject of political, economic or social concern to Jamaica and the Caribbean. It is the aim of the foundation that the lecture should initiate public debate and commentary at all levels of society. To further facilitate this process, the lecture is published and circulated to institutions and individuals.

The inaugural lecture was presented by G. Arthur Brown, former governor of the Bank of Jamaica.