University of the West Indies UWI Annual Fundraising Gala set for April 18, 2024
WiredJA News Team, March 26th, 2024


In an evening that promises to fuse elegance with education, the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) will hold its 27th annual gala on April 18, at the iconic 583 Park Avenue in New York City. 

This landmark event celebrates the University of the West Indies' unwavering commitment to funding scholarships, opening doors, and transforming the lives of countless students, setting a new standard for philanthropy and academic excellence.

Themed "The Legacy Continues," this gala is more than an evening of elegance; it's a tribute to the transformative power of education, and a celebration of those who have significantly contributed to this cause. 

This gala isn't just an event; it's a beacon of possibility for students who have dared to dream beyond their circumstances. 

Thanks to the generosity of countless donors, the AFUWI scholarship program has been a pivotal ladder for talented, ambitious Caribbean nationals, opening doors to higher education that once seemed firmly shut. 

Ann-Marie Grant, the executive director of AFUWI, captures the essence of this mission, expressing gratitude towards the donors who help craft legacies of impact by enabling young minds to pursue their college dreams.

The night will also honour distinguished personalities who have made their mark in various fields, from governance and technology to law, business development, and community service. Each honouree's story reflects a dedication to not only their professional success but also their commitment to nurturing the next generation of leaders in the Caribbean.

AFUWI Scholarship Awardees Grateful
Jamaica Observer, July 17, 2022


University graduates routinely extol the virtues of their tertiary institution as "opening doors" for them. That is true of Moonmatie Revie Seeteram, but she is equally happy that some doors were emphatically closed.

A recipient of the Jamaica and Guyana Pilgrim Bursary for Guyanese students 2013-2014, which saw her attain a degree in journalism from Caribbean Institute of Media and Communications, on completion Seeteram read for an LLB and is now qualified to practice in Jamaica and her native Guyana.

Acknowledging that the "family is the best support system", Seeteram also realised early that the culture in her small village would see her married in short order and destined to a life of drudgery like many of her other young female relatives and friends.

The high achiever says that "at 16 I knew I had to believe in me more than my community believed in me. I studied hard and getting that UWI scholarship was the best thing that could have ever happened to me".

Vernique Miller, recipient of the Dr Cyrus McCalla Scholarship for 2021/2022, a final-year student in the Faculty of Medicine at Mona, remembers well the struggles along a journey full of potholes, twists and turns.

An unemployed dad, the main breadwinner a mom earning marginally above minimum wage, anxiety each semester that non-payment of fees would lead to deregistration, were among the hurdles she faced until she received the scholarship sponsored by the chairman of the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI).

She was in her senior pediatric class when she got the call from Beverley Hunter of The UWI advising her of the scholarship which she accepted, crying with gratitude for over an hour.

She remembers, "I was dumbstruck, I could not jump, I could not scream. I was just frozen. I did not even know this was possible for me. I received my first scholarship before the end of my tenure at UWI, which completely paid off my first semester of final year and all of the final semester of my medical school journey."

At the start of her studies at medical school she had promised her family that she would get a scholarship and she did. All were elated.

Hoshane Langley is happy for his own achievements too and eternally grateful for the scholarship which set him on a path to have a bachelors and master's degree in accounting and CPA qualifications by age 27.

The son of subsistence farmers "who struggled to provide for their family" and one of six children, he reminisced about getting up at the crack of dawn with his twin brother to tie out the goats, feed the cows and water the melons before going to school. He had market duties on Thursdays and Saturdays when he travelled to Coronation Market to help his mother sell her produce and worked 40 hours per week to raise money for school. In his own words, he was "part-time higgler, part-time university worker, full-time student and full-time dreamer".

He did extremely well at The UWI but all the money his parents had saved was all used up by the end of the first year of studies. Doors were closing for Langley.

But thankfully, news of the AFUWI/The Door Scholarship came and the stress of knowing where the money will come from to complete his studies was over.

"I'm grateful to the foundation for helping me to generate a bunch of keys that has and is continuing to help me to open doors on my journey," he said.

Don Wehby, Grace Kennedy, Caribbean Heads of State Amoung 8 Distinguished AFUWI 2022 Awardees
The UWI Regional Headquarters, Kingston, Jamaica, March 28th 2022


Jamaican business leader and senator, Don Wehby, Group CEO of GraceKennedy, one of the Caribbean's largest conglomerates with operations spanning Jamaica, several other Caribbean islands, North and Central America, the United Kingdom and several European countries, along with three of the Caribbean region's Heads of State, are among a group of eight distinguished recipients of the 25th Anniversary Awards of the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI).

Mr. Wehby will receive the AFUWI Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Global Business Leadership and the GraceKennedy Group will receive the AFUWI Corporate Award for Global Business Excellence. AFUWI Legacy Awards will be presented to Hon. Gaston A. Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda and Dr. The Hon. Timothy J. Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis and the Vice Chancellor's Award to Dr. The Hon. Mark A. Brantley, Premier of Nevis.

The other four honourees receiving awards on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at the AFUWI 25th Anniversary Gala at the prestigious 583 Park Avenue event hall will be Wayne Berson, CPA, Chief Executive Officer, BDO USA who will receive the Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Financial Advisory Services; Dawnn Lewis, Grammy Award-Winning Songwriter, Producer and Actress who will receive the Bob Marley Award; Ambassador Ralph S. Thomas the Pelican Award and Graham Robinson, SVP & President, STANLEY Industrial, the Caribbean Luminary Award.

The AFUWI  Awards are conferred annually on notable individuals and companies which represent high levels of achievement within their respective fields of industry, enterprise and in service in their communities,  by the US - based AFUWI  which  partners with UWI alumni, the Caribbean Community in the USA, American foundations and corporations to raise funds for projects, scholarships and academic programmes on the  university's four physical and one virtual campuses.

Prof. Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies said that "the 2022 awardees are indeed a distinguished group deserving of acknowledgement at the 25th anniversary of the AFUWI Awards Gala. This is a time too, when we must pay homage to the many sponsors of the event and the persons who annually attend the gala thus contributing to the raising of scholarship funds for hundreds of worthy students".

Sir Hilary noted that "The UWI which is preparing to celebrate its 75th anniversary next year, has worked tirelessly to develop sustainable strategies in the face of many economic challenges that have caused many governments to reduce student support and of course, most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic, which has made our situation even more difficult."  

He said that The UWI has forged linkages between industry and academia, sports, entertainment, and culture, to deliver innovation and value for the economic growth of Caribbean nations and will soon be going to the bond market to raise to raise US$ 60-m to finance the establishment of an offshore medical university in Trinidad and Tobago as part of a range of measures to place the institution on a sound financial footing. 

"The UWI is working to transform itself into a global university providing education to 100, 000 students all over the world, online. We have already forged partnerships with leading universities in Africa, Cuba, the USA, England, and China. Soon there will be a UWI in every continent", Sir Hilary declared.

The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. W.I. Thursday, September 23, 2021
Regional Headquarters, Kingston, Jamaica

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Since 2016 when the management of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) took the strategic decision to prepare and position the institution for global competitive rankings, its performance results have been steadily progressive. The choice to engage the Times Higher Education (THE) ranking system was based on its standing as the most reputable and independently quality assured. Its annual rankings have become a standard measuring tool in the comparative performances of the best global universities.

The ranking results for 2022, released by the THE in early September 2021 show that The UWI has soared within the scales, moving up a very impressive 94 places. From the global field of some 30,000 universities and elite research institutes, The UWI now stands in the top 1.5%, up from 3% in the prior year.

"This is a spectacular performance," Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles noted. "While we have maintained our number one position in the Caribbean, and top 1% of the best in Latin America and the Caribbean, the surge to the top 1.5% in the world gives us a considerable degree of professional satisfaction as a management and leadership team," Sir Hilary added. "The top global tier is where we set out to position our university and we have reached there," he concluded.

Pro Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Planning, and Principal of the Five Islands Campus, Professor Densil A. Williams, who has guided the global ranking engagement noted that, "the impressive performance of the university is rooted in the work of Faculties and Research Institutes. Campus principals and their leadership teams along with faculty and staff should also be commended for embracing the vision embedded in the Triple A Strategic Plan which laid the foundation for this ranking engagement since 2018."

In the current World University rankings, only 1,668 universities from 99 countries satisfied the eligibility criteria of the THE. This is up from 1,500 across 93 countries last year. The UWI rising is therefore within the context of a significantly expanded field of participants, which makes the performance even more impressive.

Number of Qualified Universities by Region [Source: 2022 THE World University Rankings].

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These 1,668 elite universities are ranked under five pillars of excellence: [1] teaching and learning; [2] research; [3] scholarly and professional citations; [4] industry income; and [5] international outlook and participation. Results are validated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The UWI's robust comparative performance was driven by improved results in teaching and learning, research and professional citations, and global outlook and participation. This result places The UWI alongside the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. It also locates The UWI in the elite band of BRICS universities in Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa with 3.2 billion people compared to the 6.2 million in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Areas of concern which are red flagged, and identified for improvement remain constant—insufficient private sector investment in research, and volatility in government funding that raises questions with respect to the enterprise's financial sustainability. These areas are placed at the centre of strategic planning for the next five-year period.

In general, these results are particularly satisfying to management given the headwinds faced by the university in recent years, resulting from escalating regional fiscal challenges, economic impact of hurricanes, and financial devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the stellar leadership of Vice-Chancellor Beckles, management remained steadfast and unflinching in its effort to deliver high quality services to students and other stakeholders. While participating in public discourses about the specific roles and relevance of the university, management maintained its focus on the objective of delivering measurable performance outcomes that will enhance the development of the region.

Under the stellar leadership of Vice-Chancellor Beckles, management remained steadfast and unflinching in its effort to deliver high quality services to students and other stakeholders. While participating in public discourses about the specific roles and relevance of the university, management maintained its focus on the objective of delivering measurable performance outcomes that will enhance the development of the region.

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Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

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Professor Densil A. William

Office of the Vice-Chancellor
Regional Headquarters, Kingston, Jamaica


I recently congratulated our strategy and leadership group for successfully guiding the University through the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am confident that the region will recognise the excellent work done by the teams on all campuses across the region in transitioning the University to full online/remote teaching and management, enabling students to progress through their programmes of study.

However, the time is right to return the gaze to addressing the most important matter of repositioning the University to be globally competitive and financially sustainable in its journey to 2025-2030. Only a reengineered UWI will be able to deliver even more effectively on the region's development agenda.

The post-COVID University will therefore be a very different kind of academy, fully embracing the communications and production technology in order to be more agile in capturing opportunities to enhance its financial health while promoting the diversity of development discourses in the region.

At the University's Strategic Planning Retreat hosted in November, some very significant steps already taken in this regard were discussed:

  • significant cuts in budgetary expenditure for the 2020-2021 year with more to come in 2021-2022;
  • fostering of intimate partnership relationships with major international donors in order to facilitate research and advocacy around the development agenda of the region;
  • building bonds of engagement with critical multilateral organisations in order to create new and innovative clusters of activity in areas of urgent regional needs such as climate change, digital transformation, innovation studies, public health management, food security, financial services, tourism enhancement, social justice for democratic advancement, and production technology development;
  • facilitating industry-academic partnerships to drive the process of regional economic diversification and competitiveness;
  • being the global eyes and ears of the Caribbean.

Another equally important initiative is The UWI's advancement to contribute to the economic transformation process in Guyana and Suriname. This stems from a conversation  with President Irfaan Ali of Guyana earlier this year. You should know that President-elect Joe Biden of the USA also previously wrote indicating his respect for the work and reputation of The UWI. Both engagements, have been particularly encouraging at this critical time in repositioning the University for the 2025-2030 period.

The University has effectively built and internationalised its identity as a global leader and the time is ripe to convert its reputation into revenue. The University is advanced in its preparations to enter the regional capital market with a number of bankable projects, an indication of its readiness to be entrepreneurial at a significant level.

Beyond the region, The UWI is also preparing to transform its online academic capacity into a global strategy by rolling out another stage in the development of the Open Campus. The evolving UWI Global Online is expected to go live before the University approaches its 75th anniversary in 2023.

The reputation of The UWI has never been higher. Working in partnership with some of the finest international universities on all continents the expectation is that The UWI will be well-positioned to preserve its regional and global elite rankings while restructuring its economic infrastructure. The leadership energy and management effort that led to its successful reputation revolution will now be honed and directed to achieve similar business results.

About Professor Sir Hilary Beckles:

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, 8th Vice-Chancellor of The UWI is a distinguished academic, international thought leader, United Nations committee official, and global public activist in the field of social justice and minority empowerment. He is also the President of Universities Caribbean, and Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission.

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AFUWI Supports The UWI Global Giving Month

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Statement from the Vice-Chancellor
Regional Headquarters, Jamaica, June 1, 2020. The following statement is issued by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, President of Universities Caribbean, and Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission.

Marcus, Martin, and Minneapolis.

Martin Luther King Jr, when he felt he could not breathe came to Jamaica. When the threats to his life were constant and closing in around his neck, he took this measure to maintain his life. His visits to Jamaica's north coast filled his lungs with the 'freer' air of our space. He returned to the mainland more battle ready for the struggle to achieve the God-given right to the dignity of black life.

Island and mainland have always been a common survival space. Borders cannot contain consciousness nor isolate the intellect. Martin was retracing the footsteps of Marcus, his mentor, the incomparable Mosiah Garvey who also travelled from this north coast—his ancestral home—to Harlem, there to dedicate his life to the struggle for the dignity of black life.

Garvey's Jamaican voice was heard in every American community where the dignity of black life was denied. He would have flown to the side of George Floyd, and embraced his forlorn family while preparing to prosecute those who demeaned his dignity and denied his 'livity'.

Marley, the Buffalo Soldier from this said north coast, was idolized by every African American who was empowered by 'old Marcus Garvey' to get up and stand up and defend their right to life with dignity.

Malcolm, socialized as an X West Indian, took up the struggle of the islands on the mainland, connecting the legacies of Marcus and Martin to the West Indian commitment to rightness, fairness, and dignity in plantation America.

Where there were plantation overseers there are now police officers. Through them, black life remains prime for deletion as if on the plantation.

This Minneapolis fight was Marcus Garvey's fight; it was Martin's fight; it was Malcolm's fight; it was Marley's fight. It's a Caribbean fight and it's a global fight.

West Indians have been in it all along. Professor Orlando Patterson, Harvard don, but bred and adorned at the Mona Campus of The UWI, told his MSNBC interviewer that what we have seen is a special breed of evil from the depth of hell. We must exorcise it, he said, and return it from whence it came.

Patterson spoke as a Caribbean scholar in America, the finest sociologist they have, on loan from us to them. His classic work, The Sociology of Slavery, shows us how history can haunt communities; how privileges from the past become the pain of the present.

From that horrible history when Europeans stole 15 million of our ancestors from Africa and scattered them across plantation America—the Caribbean getting the lion's share—shattering family bonds, the future was cast in the concrete again, in which the face of George was crushed.

From that moment, when the British government in 1636, took the first step to legally classify all blacks in their colonies as non-human, chattel, property, and real estate and proceeded with their European partners to build and manage with it a global business model for 400 years, the greatest 'financial juggernaut' of world history, humanity was poisoned with the toxic pandemic of race hatred.

And from that date in 1783, when Chief Justice Mansfield of England, in the Zong Trial, boldly proclaimed that the blacks in the case before him are no different from so many horses, sheep, and goats, the poison had permeated every community in the western world.

It is this culture of centuries upon which the American nation is built that continues to choke the air from black lungs. The Americans won their national independence from Britain, and proceeded to retain slavery as the development model of the nation; the same model in which the western world defined and treated black people as animals. It is the legacy of this model, embedded in a national security institution that took the life of "Big Floyd".

It is this license to treat animal life as dispensable that led the pack of hunters to pin a citizen to the concrete, using the knee like a blunt knife to the throat for nine minutes, while posing and posturing like a fisherman in triumph over his catch of the day for all to see!

It is this cultural triumphalism of killing black prey that has caught afire the heart of a hitherto race hardened world made to participate virtually in an actual live extinction of life; typified by a dying man calling out for his deceased mother who at the moment answered her son because she knew it was time to call him home.

The UWI, too, has heard the call of George. We wish to invoke the memory of Marcus and Martin to bring to the islands young African Americans, here to breathe before returning to the mainland fight for dignity. We owe it to Martin, to Marcus, to Malcolm, and to Marley; and to all the ruptured minds of Minneapolis.

This is our cause. Every university that stands for freedom, justice, and the celebration of human dignity must stand up like a gorilla for justice for George. Minneapolis is just another place where our eyes have detected evil, beyond hate, that has erupted from the depth of hell.

Not only the souls of black folks have been scarred forever by this latest event in the genocidal war against young black men; the soul of the world is awakened.

This week, every person on the planet who carries a spirit of love for humanity has become a protesting priest. We need our prophets now more than ever. The 'old pirate has robbed I' once again. And yet we shall rise!

About Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, 8th Vice-Chancellor of The UWI is a distinguished academic, international thought leader, United Nations committee official, and global public activist in the field of social justice and minority empowerment. He is also the President of Universities Caribbean, and Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission.

April 28th, 2020


The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) has launched a campaign to acquire laptops and tablets for students of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) , Mona, Jamaica, who are facing challenges accessing online classes, now mandatory due to COVID-19. This initiative is in close collaboration with the Alumni chapters of New York , Florida and Washington DC.

The university shifted course delivery and the majority of its assessment instruments on line, effective April 14, 2020, after a 1-month break, in response to COVID-19 "Social Distancing" requirements mandated by the government of Jamaica. The University has also announced that there will be no face-to-face examinations this semester and they will instead use asynchronous assessment methods like coursework, take home assignments and projects, during the new exam period June 15-July 3, 2020.

Ann-Marie Grant, Executive Director of AFUWI, noted that "these changes in the delivery of classes and programmes at The UWI, make it even more urgent that the students have laptops or tablets. Unfortunately, some of them simply cannot afford to purchase these items and since they are not able to access the facilities on campus or share with other students due to social distancing strictures, they are at a distinct disadvantage. "Miss Grant noted that approximately 2,000 students are in need of assistance and that The UWI had so far acquired 500 tablets and negotiated with the Government of Jamaica to have the UWI- related website zero rated.

"Our Project is targeting the purchase 200 laptops and tablets which will be loaned to students for use now and through the exam period, then retrieved for use by the next generation of students. We are asking for donations of US$10.00 or more during the period April 20-May 20, 2020, to help these students achieve their dreams of a university degree " , she explained further.

Donations can be made via:

New York, October 1, 2019

The Caribbean community across the United States will host a Day of Giving mediathon on Saturday October 26th in support of the islands of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas recently devastated by Hurricane Dorian.

Building on the success of the 2017 Caribbean Day of Giving (CDOG) initiative, the 2019 mediathon is an all-day effort to mobilize the Caribbean Diaspora and friends of the Caribbean to donate to the ongoing relief efforts. Through a growing list of participating media partners including Irie Jam Radio 93.5FM/IrieJam 360 and One Caribbean Television, monetary donations will be raised to support displaced residents of the affected islands. In addition to music, programs will feature interviews with Caribbean Government officials as well as representatives of CARICOM, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) among other agencies who will share their first-hand experiences with the devastating impact of climate change, and provide updates on the relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts. Ambassadors, Consuls General, elected officials, notable personalities, and community leaders will be present to encourage the community and friends of the Caribbean to give to this effort.

According to lead coordinator, Dr. Omyma David, "the catastrophic impact and frequency of recent Atlantic storms such as Hurricane Dorian is sadly the reality of the impact of climate change on our Caribbean islands. Each time, our diaspora and friends of the Caribbean responds immediately with tremendous goodwill; however, the road to recovery is long and costly. Caribbean Day of Giving helps to build a culture of giving over the long-term." The humanitarian initiative has received the endorsement and support of the New York CARICOM Consular Corps and the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams among others.

Monetary donations during the 2019 mediathon will go directly to the Caribbean Day of Giving (CDOG) charity partners, namely: the Bahamian American Association Inc. (BAAI) in New York City, American Foundation of the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) and the Sandals Foundation. The relief efforts will benefit several agencies actively on the ground in the Bahamas including CDEMA, HeadKnowles Bahamas, Hands for Hunger and Samaritan's Purse.

Caribbean diaspora and friends of the Caribbean are also encouraged to support ongoing hurricane relief drives organized across United States and join the #Caribbeandayofgiving #Caribbeandiasporagiving campaign. For a full listing and more information please visit our website:; Facebook:; Twitter:@CariDayofGiving.

Caribbean Day of Giving (CDOG) is organized by a Caribbean Diaspora Disaster Relief Coalition in response to recent devastating storms and the increasing vulnerability of our small island states. This growing alliance of community leaders across the Caribbean diaspora was organized to help build capacity and strengthen response to natural disasters in the Caribbean region by promoting a collective response to disaster relief among the Caribbean diaspora.

Statement from Professor Sir Hilary Beckles on the passing of the Most Honourable Edward Philip George Seaga.
Regional Headquarters, Kingston, Jamaica, Tuesday, 11 June 2019


The University of the West Indies (The UWI) mourns the passing of the Most Honourable Edward Philip George Seaga, ON, PC., former Jamaican politician and the country's fifth Prime Minister. The following statement is issued by the Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles in immediate response to the news.

"It is a sad moment in the movement that is the heroic rise of Jamaica as one of the most confident, courageous, and creative nation states on planet earth. As one of the principal architects of the dignified nation and wider region, Mr Seaga's passing is already profoundly felt in many ways. In his later years he constituted a bridge between community and campus in his role as distinguished fellow of the University. We shall surely miss his presence and fellowship. On behalf of The UWI family, I extend condolences to Mr Seaga's family, his valued friends and associates. To Prime Minister Holness, who carries our collective sorrow on behalf of the nation, I send blessings and empowerment at this time of personal loss. May his soul rest in peace."

We are collaborating with HE Elizabeth Thompson of the Barbados Mission to the UN and the UWI AA NY Chapter to host this event. All proceeds of the book sales benefit the scholarship fund at The UWI.

Bahamas PM & 1st Female Premier of Turks & Caicos Merit AFUWI Honors
Philadelphia Observer, Feb 28th, 2019

Now that the entertainment industry has fully regaled their most achieving talents by presenting film and music trophies during the Academy and Grammy Awards, distinguished Caribbean citizens are set to receive Pinnacle Pathfinder, Chancellor's, Luminary, Pelican and Legacy Awards.

Slated for Feb. 27, the 22nd annual and probably most anticipated Caribbean, black tie gala awards event closes out Black History and Reggae Month at the Pierre Hotel with honors and a principal purpose of boosting scholarship donations to worthy students seeking admission to the University of the West Indies.

American Foundation for The University of the West Indies to Honour US Film Director, Malcolm Lee, Caribbean Heads of State, Entrepreneurs Kingston, Jamaica, February 6th, 2019


Malcolm D. Lee


Anya Schnoor


Kevin Hendrickson


Dr. Hubert Alexander Minnis

American film director, writer and producer, Malcolm D. Lee; Dr. the Hon. Hubert Alexander Minnis, Prime Minister of the Bahamas; Hon. Sherice Cartwright Robinson, Premier of the Turks & Caicos Islands; Jamaican Hotelier, Kevin Hendrickson and Banker Anya Schnoor, are the recipients of the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) 2019 awards. The two heads of state are alumni of The UWI.

The awards will to be presented at the AFUWI 22nd Annual Legacy Awards Gala at the Pierre Hotel, New York on February 27, 2019, where Her Excellency Pennelope Beckles, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago to the United Nations and President of UN Women will receive the University of the West Indies Alumni Association (UWIAA) Pelican Award. This award is presented by the Association to graduates of The UWI who have excelled in their chosen fields and have made significant national, regional or international impact.

The AFUWI, a registered US Charity, annually hosts the Legacy Awards Gala and other events in New York, raising funds for scholarships to The UWI. Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Prof. Sir Hilary Beckles will present the five AFUWI awards.

Malcolm D. Lee will receive the Pinnacle Pathfinder Award. He has been making films since age 12 in animation, video and super-8 film formats. Since age 17, he has worked as a production assistant, apprentice film editor, casting associate assistant director and director's assistant.

A graduate of Georgetown University with a BA in English and Fine Arts minor, he completed a Fellowship in screen writing from Walt Disney Studios before honing his craft at New York University's Tisch School of Fine Arts.

He directed the action comedy UNDERCOVER BROTHER (with Eddie Griffin, Dave Chappelle and Neil Patrick Harris); WELCOME HOME ROSCOE JENKINS (with Martin Lawrence) and SOUL MEN (with Samuel L. Jackson & Bernie Mac); BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT (Ice-Cube, Cedric The Entertainer, Nicki Minaj); GIRLS TRIP (Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish).

In November of 2013 (a banner year for African American films) Lee released the sequel to his first film. The Best Man Holiday grossed $30.5 Million in its opening weekend alone pleasing audiences and shocking the industry with a game-changing debut. Another installment of The Best Man franchise is in the works.

In September of 2018, Lee teamed up with Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish for the comedy, NIGHT SCHOOL which grossed over $100M worldwide, and is now in the process of developing film and television projects for NBCUniversal and Universal Pictures.

Receiving one of two Legacy Awards will be Dr. the Hon. Hubert Alexander Minnis, Prime Minister of the Bahamas who obtained the MBBs degree in Medicine from The UWI in 1980 and in 1985 completed specialized studies in Jamaica in obstetrics and gynaecology. He is a member of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. A former Minister of Health and Leader of the Opposition, he was elected Prime Minister of the Bahamas in 2017.

The Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, the other Legacy Award recipient, is the first female Premier of the Turks & Caicos Islands. A graduate of The UWI with a LLb., she previously operated the law firm Cartwright and Co., and worked as a law tutor at the TCI Community College. She is the first female to have served her party as Vice Chairman, Secretary General, National Chairman, Deputy Leader and now Leader and she led her People's Democratic Movement to victory in the 2016 general elections, beating 52 other candidates for the premiership.

The AFUWI 2019 Chancellor's Award of Excellence in Business Leadership will be presented to Kevin Hendrickson who owns and operates several businesses in Jamaica. He is currently guiding a massive multibillion dollar redevelopment and integration of his hotel holdings on Knutsford Boulevard – the former Wyndham Hotel; the Courtleigh Hotel & Suites and the Jamaica Pegasus. He also owns and operates three bakeries- Dr. Lushus in Old Harbour; Yummy in Kingston and Holsum in Manchester and Kingston's Courtleigh Corporate Centre.

Receiving the Caribbean Luminary Award will be Anya Schnoor, Executive Vice President, Retail Products for Canadian Banking at Scotiabank since November 2017. In this role, she and her team are responsible for designing and delivering financial solutions that drive growth through Scotiabank's Canadian branch network call centres and digital. She previously served as Senior Vice President, Investment and Wealth, International Banking, based in Jamaica; Senior VP and Managing Director Trinidad & Tobago International Banking and Senior VP and Head Caribbean South & East, International Banking, with responsibility for the bank's business across 12 countries in the Caribbean.

UWI and SUNY students volunteer to rebuild Dominican Pre-school The UWI Vice-Chancellery, Jamaica, W.I. Wednesday, 09 January 2019

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The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the State University of New York (SUNY) recently joined hands and hearts in a charitable initiative to rebuild a pre-school in hurricane ravaged Dominica. The project is being spearheaded by the SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development. It is the first initiative of this type undertaken by the Centre, reflecting the work which so closely aligns with its goal of facilitating student advocacy toward sustainable development in the region.

Fourteen students; seven from The UWI and seven from SUNY – New Paltz and a faculty member from each institution recently travelled to the island of Dominica to begin work, rebuilding the Morne Prosper Pre-School and restoring the attached Primary School from January 07 through 19.   The rebuilding work is being managed by the non-profit organisation, All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response which provides immediate and long-term assistance to communities affected by natural disasters. At the center of the NGO's approach to rebuilding are notably sustainable 'build back better' techniques which ensure homes, schools and other community infrastructure are resistant against future hurricanes and earthquakes and can also serve as evacuation shelters in emergencies.  Funding for the project, including the students' travel was supported by a donation of US $3,000.00 from the New York Chapter of the Jamaica Ex-Soldiers Association through the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) as well as from a number of corporate entities in Trinidad and Tobago.

Fourteen students; seven from The UWI and seven from SUNY – New Paltz and a faculty member from each institution recently travelled to the island of Dominica to begin work, rebuilding the Morne Prosper Pre-School and restoring the attached Primary School from January 07 through 19.   The rebuilding work is being managed by the non-profit organisation, All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response which provides immediate and long-term assistance to communities affected by natural disasters. At the center of the NGO's approach to rebuilding are notably sustainable 'build back better' techniques which ensure homes, schools and other community infrastructure are resistant against future hurricanes and earthquakes and can also serve as evacuation shelters in emergencies.  Funding for the project, including the students' travel was supported by a donation of US $3,000.00 from the New York Chapter of the Jamaica Ex-Soldiers Association through the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) as well as from a number of corporate entities in Trinidad and Tobago.

Commenting on the project Dr Luz Longsworth, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Open Campus and Co-Chair of the SUNY UWI Centre for Leadership and Sustainable Development said "When we launched the SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development in 2016, one of our stated goals was to encourage and facilitate student advocacy. We were so pleased to see the buy-in from our students; they paid their own way to and from Dominica in an economic climate that is very challenging. At The UWI this says to us 'service to the region' is not just rhetoric but is a living, breathing aspect of our culture that is permeating one of our largest stakeholder groups – our students. We are also positive that the choice to partner with All Hands and Hearts was definitely the right one given their sustainable approach to disaster relief which is in keeping with our values at the Center."

Other project leaders, Ms Sally Crimmins Villela – Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs, SUNY and Dr Robert Balkin – Director of Latin America and Caribbean Collaboration, SUNY have also expressed satisfaction with the level of student participation from the students.

The SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Development was formally established in September 2016 with the aim of contributing to the pool of innovative solutions to specific problems that constrain the achievement of the United Nation's sustainable development goals. One year later in September 2017, the island of Dominica was devastated by Hurricane Maria which damaged 90% of its structures. This presented an opportunity for The SUNY UWI Center to deliver the kind of support it was set up to provide.

Statement from the Vice-Chancellor Regional Headquarters, Kingston, Jamaica, November 26, 2018 – The following statement is issued by the Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.
The UWI has no agreement with the University of Glasgow for reparation payments.


The headline of the story published in the Jamaica Gleaner Newspaper dated November 25, 2018 addressing the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow's admission that 200 pounds in fees, endowment and grants were received from Caribbean slave-owners, and attributing reference to an "agreement" with the Vice-Chancellor of The UWI to repay the said sum was inaccurate.

While the quoted content of the story is correct the headline that suggests an agreement to pay 200 pounds to The UWI is not. The universities are working through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) built upon the principle of "reparatory justice", but there is no "agreement" about the repayment of 200 pounds to The UWI.

In good faith the two universities, ever since the Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow indicated that his university seeks to be excellent and ethical, have had excellent conversations about how Glasgow can contribute to cleaning up the colonial legacies of slavery that are holding back the region, and have a working team on the project.

About Professor Sir Hilary Beckles:

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, an Economic Historian, was installed as the 8th Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) on May 30, 2015. Before assuming the office of Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Sir Hilary was Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University's Cave Hill Campus in Barbados for 13 years (2002-2015). Sir Hilary is a distinguished university administrator, and transformational leader in higher education. For his complete biography, visit:

Kofi Annan: Philosopher Prine Regional Headquarters, Kingston, Jamaica, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The following editorial on the passing of Kofi Annan—Ghanaian diplomat and seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations—is issued by the Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles. Mr. Annan was conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by The UWI, Mona in 1998.

Africa's long tradition of producing a timely philosopher prince remained in place despite Europe's modern global holocaust against its people. The capacity to reason as if above the canopy of chaos, while feet remained rooted in the turbulent turf has remained a legacy. A mantle of Mandela's humanist mission fell onto the gifted Ghanaian son, Kofi [born on a Friday], who rose to become the continent's first black Prince of the United Nations in 1997 before returning to ancestors on Saturday, August 18, 2018.

The UWI, an academy he respected, conferred on him an honorary doctorate in special convocation in 1998, two days before his 60th birthday. Claiming and naming him a UWI man, Professor Baugh, the Mona's campus orator of excellence, framed him as the Asante from Kumasi who crossed the Atlantic with an African agenda to address its middle passage, evil deeds and to heal the world's deepest wound.

While it has been said that he ruled 'best for the West', it cannot be claimed that he did not remain embedded within the intellectual power of the African cosmology and sensibility that captured the global imagination, dedicated as it was to the peace and reconciliation that sought to uproot the rue as recognised and reasoned by Bishop Tutu.

To this end, he took the United Nations in 2001 to Durban, South Africa, for a global reasoning in the form of a conference on race, xenophobia and other related intolerances. With Thabo Mbeki in the presidency and Nelson Mandela in diplomatic retreat, Kofi fought to convince the world that this was its moment to rise, as if from a baptismal cleansing. He believed it to be the 'Mandela moment', and that the international community could be convinced to embrace a new, even if surreal, appetite for tolerance with justice.

The dapper diplomat went to work knowing full well that the test of his talent would be on display. Blood was running in Rwanda and the West was preparing to end traditional leadership in Libya. He stood as a lonely man, seeking to save the world from itself, to extract the toxins of colonial legacies, and to bring an imagined biblical peace to the Middle East. Every land with an angst that wished for relief from pain and grief called for Annan. Peace was his passion. But he knew the limits of the letter and positioned his person at the centre of the stage to be settled. This was the signature of his commitment. Where he did not succeed he had tried hardest.

The Durban discourse was dying at the outset. The USA pulled out citing the need to protect Israel from unfounded allegations. Yasser Arafat was unmoved. The EU threatened to pull out feeling shame and guilt for its committed crimes against humanity within colonial empires. There was to be neither dialogue nor diplomacy on reparations.


Kofi stepped in. Compromises were struck. The conference proceeded. Delegates proceeded to give the world what it needed. The approved resolution stated that slavery, slave trading, and colonialism were crimes against humanity. Annan secured for Africa's global diasporas what was long pursued. From then it has been said that reparatory justice for these crimes will constitute the greatest global political movement of the 21st century.

Diplomacy, the master craftsman once said, "is the art of enabling the other side to celebrate your victory as their own". The subtlety of success is today rarely celebrated. We will now be living in the post Annan diplomatic world that in many places, rejects the decency of diplomatic dialogue. Annan was the 'light as a feather' African sage, a universal peace soldier, and a UWI, Caribbean supporter. And so, as we hear the distant drum, we say unto him, rest, rise, turn and come again.

The UFI Top Ranking Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. Wednesday, July 18, 2018

After two years of intense effort and strategic interventions, on July 18, 2018, the Office of the Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) received news from The Times Higher Education (THE) that the University has been ranked 37th among the best 129 universities in its 2018 Times Higher Education Latin America University Rankings.

The UK-based company behind the world’s most influential university ranking judges world-class universities based riggorous criteria which include performance indicators grouped into five areas: teaching (the learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation); citations (research influence); international outlook (staff, students and research); and industry income (knowledge transfer).

According to Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, “The UWI has been preparing itself for its first official hemispheric ranking since launching its current Triple A Strategy (Strategic Plan 2017-2022), entitled Revitalizing Caribbean Development.” During a June 2018 interview with the Times Higher Education and THE World University Rankings in London, Vice-Chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles discussed the sustainability of The UWI’s commitment to excellence, particularly with reference to the security of funding obligations expected of regional governments and the growing involvement of the regional private sector. The conversation followed high-level professional conceptual and technical preparatory work with the THE team conducted by The UWI Pro Vice-Chancellors Densil Williams [Planning and Strategy] and Richard Bernal [Global Affairs].

Commenting on the University’s performance in the ranking scheme, Vice-Chancellor Beckles noted, “Entering officially into the rankings for the first time required tremendous mobilisation of resolve and resources. While we are very pleased with our entry ranking, alongside the largest, wealthiest universities, private and public, in the biggest countries, we recognise that we cannot rest on our laurels, not even for ten minutes, until we have reached top ten status in the next ten years.” He added, “We know what we have to do and our team is getting on with it.”


This news of the regional ranking comes as The UWI celebrates its 70th anniversary and the University now has its sights set on the results of the global university ranking to be released in September 2018 in Singapore. “Radically enhancing the international reputation and status of The UWI is our ultimate target. To this end, we have embarked on an aggressive global strategy,” said Vice-Chancellor Beckles.

In recent years, The UWI has established centres in Suzhou [China], New York [USA], and Lagos [Nigeria] with others being discussed for Canada, the European Union, Latin America, and the UK. As a result the University is positioned as one of the most globally engaged universities, a development that positively influenced this top third ranking in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Professor Dale Webber officially appointed to serve as next Principal of The UWI Mona Campus The UWI Vice-Chancellery, Jamaica, W.I. Friday, May 11, 2018

Professor Dale Webber, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Graduate Studies and Research at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has been appointed Campus Principal of the Mona Campus in Jamaica. Pursuant to Statute 10, the appointment was approved by Chancellor Robert Bermudez, on behalf of the University Council, following a recommendation from Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles. Professor Webber will succeed Professor Archibald McDonald as Principal of The UWI Mona Campus and his appointment takes effect from October 1, 2018.

Professor Dale Webber has had a distinguished career in Coastal Ecology and Environmental Management and a strong and consistent record of teaching, graduate supervision, administration and research excellence which spans 30 years of service with The UWI.

He joined The UWI in 1989 as Warden of Taylor Hall (of residence) at the Mona Campus.  In 1991, he moved to become Lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences, was promoted in 2003 to a Senior Lecturer and then to the rank of Professor in 2010.  Between 2003 and 2007, Professor Webber served as Head of the Department of Life Sciences. From 1992 to 2001, he was the Assistant Director for the Centre for Marine Sciences at Mona, and returned as Director from 2005 to 2015, and held the Grace Kennedy's James Moss-Solomon Snr. Chair in Environmental Management from 2010 to 2015. In 2015, Professor Webber was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor for Graduate Studies. His portfolio expanded to Graduate Studies and Research in 2016 when the Graduate Studies and Research portfolios merged.

As Pro Vice-Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research, Professor Webber has mobilised staff and students across all four campuses to develop eight multi-campus research clusters. This has resulted in four successful international grant applications, as well as a US$25 million research monitoring Memorandum of Understanding between the University and the Government of Montserrat. He has also secured the establishment of posts of Directors of Graduate Studies and Research at the Cave Hill, Mona and St Augustine campuses.

Professor Webber has an excellent record of public service, currently serving as Chairman, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) Board of Directors, Convener of the CAPE Environmental Sciences Panel for the Caribbean Examination Council, Chairman of CL Environmental Company and Chairman, The Climate Change Advisory Board of Jamaica.


At the national level, his effective engagement with the private and public sector is well-known. Particularly, in the environmental private sector, Professor Webber led the transformation and operation of the EFJ, as the largest environmental grant/donor organisation in Jamaica, and as its Chairman, oversaw its successful merger with Forest Conservation Foundation (FCF).

As an academic and a researcher, Professor Webber has produced five book chapters and thirty-five publications in peer-reviewed journals. He has presented his research findings at conferences locally, regionally and internationally and has written over twenty technical reports for the governments of the Caribbean and attracted approximately US$2.5 million in research grants over the past 20 years. He has supervised 21 MSc, 27 MPhil and 14 PhD students to successful completion across a range of interests, from water quality and coastal ecology to oceanography, ecosystem modelling and the effectiveness of multilateral environmental agreements in environmental management.

The Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, University's executive management team and community extend congratulations to Campus Principal Designate, Professor Dale Webber on his appointment, and wish him every success in this new capacity of service to the regional institution.

The University also conveys its sincere gratitude to Professor Archibald McDonald for his distinguished leadership of the campus since 2013, and offers best wishes for his retirement.


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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