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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


AFUWI is committed to expanding access to higher education for exceptionally gifted and ambitious young men and women who face significant financial barriers that would deny access to tertiary education. Our support helps position these aspiring scholars to obtain a college education, equipping them with the vital skills and knowledge necessary to transform their lives, support their families, and enhance the communities they serve.  The evidence is clear: increased access to higher education is crucial for eradicating generational poverty, fostering creativity, cultivating talent, and encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation—all fundamental components for nation-building.  We will use every tool in our arsenal to emphasize the significance of higher education access for underserved populations in the Caribbean and the USA and to cast a global spotlight on this pivotal issue.

Over the last ten years, AFUWI has granted nearly 650 tuition scholarships and bursaries to students at The University of the West Indies (UWI). During this period, in-kind contributions valued at approximately $8.3M in books, furnishings, computers, and medical and dental equipment were also donated to campuses across the region. The Foundation also cultivates and nurtures strategic alliances with other academic institutions and entities that share a commitment to The UWI's priority objectives and the broader development goals of the Caribbean region and its diaspora.

AFUWI is a 501C (3) IRS-designated tax-exempt nonprofit entity. All donations, whether in cash or kind, are tax-deductible to the full extent of state and federal laws. By supporting AFUWI, donors contribute to a worthy cause and enjoy the benefits of tax deductions, making their donation(s) go even further.

About The UWI

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region for the past 75 years.

From a University College of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global 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 its Open Campus, and global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

The UWI offers over 800 certificates, diplomas, and undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean's leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and the wider world.

The UWI's global recognition is not just a feather in our cap, but a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence. Consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE), The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious list since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean in the World University Rankings, it is also in the top 25 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI's inclusion among the leading universities on THE's Impact Rankings for its response to the world's biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action, further underscores our global impact and recognition.

2023 marks The UWI's 75th anniversary. The Diamond Jubilee milestone themed "UWI at 75. Rooted. Ready. Rising." features initiatives purposely designed and aligned to reflect on the past, confront the present, and articulate plans for the future of the regional University.


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