The great nation of the United States of America(USA) in its most recent history has embraced the concept and practice that people every where deserve the opportunity to have access to the basic things in life, irrespective of color,race,creed,ethnic origin or religion . It is against that background that the AFUWI seeks to make known and leverage the strong bonds of interdependence between the economies of the Caribbean region and the USA.
This is manifested daily by the vast numbers of persons of Caribbean heritage who make up the work force here, and can be found in every industry, at all levels, by the numerous and diverse role and positions held by many such persons in areas of politics and government and by their cultural and economic contribution to the growth and advancement of the USA. It is proven and readily accepted that improving the educational opportunities of the people of the Caribbean have a direct positive impact on the economic and social fabric of the USA.Currently less than 6% of the population in the English speaking Caribbean has tertiary education.
This is largely because, many who are eligible are unable to afford the cost as these small island states continue to grapple with the challenges of a development. These include the environmental and climatic concerns, crime and violence, drugs, high unemployment and dwindling natural resources. The cost of tuition for one academic year at the UWI is approximately US$3000, which when compared to the average cost here (refer New York State) is approximately 400% less expensive. Yet for many, this is unaffordable, and we are plagued with heartrending tales of many who make the sacrifice and are unable to complete their course of study because of financial challenges.
Currently, there are approximately 4,000 eligible applicants for scholarships. Even as our economy here in the USA experiences the biggest financial crisis of modern times, its impact on the economies of the small developing nations of the Caribbean will take an even greater toll, given their dependency on the USA for tourism, agricultural export, remittances and other economic activities. This situation will definitely generate harsher times for students who are already financially challenged.
The Foundation has more recently intensified its focus on supporting the University's scholarship program because of the urgent and increasing demand for financial aid from many in the student population who are talented, ambitious and determined to break the cycle of poverty, but face severe economic hardships.
In addition, the Foundation also seeks to facilitate activities which will promote the wellbeing and strengthening of the West Indian society through community service, research programs and public service endeavors for the preservation/creation of a robust cultural and social legacy.
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