In the first decade SWI worked towards accessibility and dissemination of important information through three pillars: a library, a publishing company and developmental activities. It regarded knowledge and information in particular, that helped the development and cultural enrichment of Suriname and the Caribbean region. SWI started as a meeting place of a few developmental workers in the former seminary at the Verlengde Keizerstreet. In this seminary literary and cultural activities were organized, but also campaigns for groups left behind. Much of the attention was paid to the communities living in the interior. From the beginning, the SWI library, established in 1977, had a national and Caribbean focus. It provided a solid foundation to start a publishing company and training and awareness activities.
One of the highlights was the history symposium in 1985. Three main themes with relevance to society and public policy were emphasized: the historiography of Suriname then and now, the relation between history as a science and history teaching, and the problems and perspectives with refocusing history teaching in Suriname
Suriname and the Netherlands
The relation between Suriname and the Netherlands received wide attention as part of the various activities. A bestseller and evergreen is Aid and Dependence: the Case of Suriname , by Professor Baijah Mhango. The author concludes that in the first seven years (1975 – 1982) the development objectives were not reached and the overdependence on the Netherlands during the years of the treaty increased. This book written in English was simplified and rewritten in Dutch, so that this study became assessable to a larger audience such as schoolchildren.