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Caribbean American Heritage Celebration
Learn More About our Keynote Speaker and Panelists

Percival Noel James Patterson is a Jamaican, Caribbean and International Statesman who has committed his life to achieving social and economic progress for the people of Jamaica, the Caribbean and the African Diaspora. He has selflessly applied his sharp intellect, legal training, vast political experience, keen global insight and eminent international stature to this cause for more than six decades.

Born on April 10, 1935, PJ, as he is affectionately known, had a rural Jamaican upbringing and attended Calabar High School in the capital city Kingston. After earning an honours degree in English at the University College of the West Indies (UCWI), he taught briefly at Munro and Jamaica College before studying Law at the London School of Economics & Political Science where he won a Leverhume Scholarship and the Sir David Hughes Parry Prize.  He was called to the Bar at Middle Temple and admitted to the Jamaican Bar in December 1963.

PJ Patterson responded to the call to political service early in his life, campaigning in the 1958 West Indian Federal Elections after being engaged as a political organiser in Western Jamaica for the People's National Party (PNP) in 1959.



Dr. Zulema Blair is currently Professor and Chairperson of the nationally ranked Department of Public Administration at Medgar Evers College (MEC) of the City University of New York (CUNY). Dr. Blair also serves as the Interim Executive Director of the DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy (DBC) and recently served as the Redistricting Research Director for the Center for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ) at MEC. She is the only faculty member at MEC to have both a Juris Doctorate and a PhD.

Dr. Zulema Blair


Dr. Jacqueline Braveboy-Wagner is Professor Emeritus of Political Science in the Graduate School of the City University of New York. She retired in 2022 after 38 years of service to The Graduate School as well as The Colin Powell School of Civic and Global Leadership at The City College of New York. She is a specialist in foreign policy and diplomacy, particularly with respect to small states and the nations of the Global South (former Third World).

Dr. Jacqueline Braveboy-Wagner
UWI Alumna


Dr. Jermaine McCalpin is an educator and international academic thought leader who specializes in restorative justice, reparations and genocides. He is Associate Professor and Chair of African and African American Studies at New Jersey City University and has consulted with international organizations such as the UNDP and the Government of Jamaica on matters of governance, restorative justice, and genocides.

Dr. Jermaine McCalpin
UWI Alumnus


State Senator Kevin S. Parker is a prominent New York State Legislator who is distinguished as a savvy strategist, brilliant intellectual and an elder statesman. From the moment he was seated in the New York State Senate in 2002, his political prowess was evident and resulted in a meteoric rise through the ranks. He is the 5th Ranking Democrat in Senate leadership.

Senator Kevin Parker
NY State Senator


The American Foundation for The University of The West Indies (AFUWI) is proud of its history of transformational leadership, contribution to regional development and its commitment to economic and social advancement.

AFUWI seeks to transform the lives of exceptionally talented, young women and men who are in dire financial circumstances by providing access to higher education so they can break the cycle of generational poverty and make an economic impact in their local communities and throughout the Caribbean region.

Our Foundation seeks to be known for its transformational leadership, advocacy and facilitation of higher education as a pathway to progress in the Caribbean and the USA.

During the past 10+ years AFUWI has provided approximately 500 tuition scholarships to students across the Caribbean region, donated $7.5M in goods and brokered multiple relationships with other tier one institutions.

  • Sourcing and administering private donations
  • Maximizing philanthropic efforts
  • Facilitating impact-driven projects at The UWI and its affiliates
  • Developing strategic alliances with American corporations, foundations, alumni, organizations and other Tier 1 universities
Charitable Information

AFUWI is designated by the IRS as a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit organization. All contributions (cash or in-kind) are tax deductible to the full extent of state and federal laws.

About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ);

The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region's premier research academy, The UWI's foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world's most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2018 and 2019, then top 20 in 2020. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)


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