News & Events             

Institute of International Relations News


The Organisation of American States (OAS) held a symposium on March 15th, 2018 titled "The contribution of the OAS to the hemisphere and the OAS impact on the People of the Americans" at The University of The West Indies, Regional Headquaters, Kingston, Jamaica.

The Symposium was attended by:

Ambassador Dr. Richard Bernal - Pro Vice Chancellor - Global Affairs - The University of The West Indies

Mr. Nestor Mendez - Assistant Secretary General - Organization of American States

Ms. Jeanelle Van Glaanenweygel - Representative in Jamaica Organization of American States

Dr. Lisa Vasciannie - Lecturer in the Department of Government - UWI Mona campus

Senator the Honorable Kamina Johnson Smith - Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica

Mr. Bruce Golding - Former Jamaican Prime Minister

and our very own Professor Jessica Byron - Director - Institute of International Relations, UWI St. Augustine campus

*** Special Mention - The Institute of International Relations and The Caribbean Journal of International Relations and Diplomacy has collaborated with the Organization of American States to produce the following:


Ambassador Nestor Mendez - Assistant Secretary General, OAS


Dr. Lisa Vasciannie - Lecturer in the Department of Government - UWI Mona campusSenator The Honorable Kamina Johnson Smith - Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of JamaicaThe Panel - (Left) Mr. Bruce Golding - Former Jamaican Prime Minister, (Middle) Professor Jessica Byron - Director, The Institute of International Relations, UWI St. Augustine campus, (right) Dr. Lisa Vasciannie - Lecturer in the Department of Goverment - UWI Mona campusAmbassador Richard Bernal - Pro Vice Chancellor - Global Affairs - The University of The West IndiesJeanelle Van Glaanenweygel - Representative in Jamaica, OAS

OECS and IIR Sign Cooperation MOU

OECS IIR Mou Signing

The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Commission (OECS) and The UWI Institute of International Relations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in the fields of International Relations and Diplomacy. The signing took place in Trinidad and Tobago at the 2017 Distinguished Leadership and Innovation Conference (DLIC) by the UWI Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business.

Principal signatories to the MOU were Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS and Professor Brian Copeland, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the UWI, St Augustine Campus. Other signatories were Professor Jessica Byron, Director of the Institute of International Relations and Amb. Anthony Severin, Head of International Relations at the OECS Commission.

-OECS Press Release


Dr. Mark Kirton announced Acting Director of the Institute of International Relations

The University of the West Indies has announced the appointment of Dr. Mark Kirton as the Acting Director of the Institute of International Relations, with effect from 1 January, 2016.

Dr. Kirton is a citizen of Guyana and is the holder of the B.A. (Pass with Distinction) from The University of Guyana, M.Sc. from Georgetown University, Washington D.C. and Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.  He has been involved in administration and teaching at the tertiary level in the Caribbean for more than thirty years. He has been a member of staff at the Institute of International Relations for twelve years. Kirton has written extensively on topics including regional integration and foreign policy and Caribbean-Latin American relations and has co-authored two books. He is currently in the final stages of research which will lead to the publication of the book, “Developing Partnerships in the Amazon: Brazil-Guyana Relations into the 21st century”.

The IIR celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and will be hosting a series of events to mark the golden jubilee, activities to which Dr. Kirton is very dedicated.

The staff at the Institute of International Relations would like to congratulate Dr. Kirton and wish him well on his new appointment.


Professor Andy Knight and Dr. Mark Kirton present at Lecture Series in Guyana

Director of the Institute of International Relations, Professor W. Andy Knight and Senior Lecturer, Dr. Mark Kirton, were invited to attend the Inaugural Lecture Series hosted by the Guyana Cohort of MSc Graduates of the Institute. The lecture series took place over a 2-day period, Thursday 19th and Friday 20th November, 2015.

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Students of the IIR lend their support to the CEDP

Students of the Institute volunteered their time with the Comprehensive Economic Development Plan (CEDP)at the Tobago's House of Assembly's two-day Symposium "Branding Tobago: Perspectives on the Way Forward. See note of thanks here.


Dr. Matthew Bishop receives research grant for research on The Decriminalisation of Marijuana in the Americas

Dr. Matthew Bishop, Senior Lecturer at the IIR won a grant of $15,200 from the Social Science Research Council for his project The Turning Tide of Drug Policy in the Americas: is the Caribbean Riding the Wave? This is to fund fieldwork during late 2015 and early 2016 in Washington, New York, Colorado and Oregon (two of the US states that have decriminalised marijuana) as well as Jamaica, St Vincent and Trinidad. Bishop will be publishing two academic papers out of the research, a policy paper, and making a short documentary video about marijuana decriminalisation in the Caribbean. See more.

Dr. Yuan Peng, Vice President of the China Institute for Contemporary International Relations pays visit to IIR, to speak on the Evolution of China's Foreign Policy

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An audiovisual copy of Dr. Peng's address is available here.


Dr. Jacqueline Laguardia Martinez speaks on panel at CLL Open Forum

The Centre for Language Learning hosted a panel discussion, entitled, Cuba-US Normalisation: Challenges and Opportunities for the Anglophone Caribbean. Among the panelists were Ms Bonita Morgan, Director, Resource Mobilisation and Development, Caribbean Tourism Organisation; Dr David Rampersad, Executive Director, UWI’s Central Office for Regional and International Affairs; Professor Rhoda Reddock, Deputy Principal of The UWI St. Augustine; Dr. Armando Garcia, Lecturer in the Department of History, The UWI St. Augustine; Dr. Jacqueline Laguardia-Martinez, Lecturer in the Institute of International Relations, The UWI St. Augustine; and Dr. Beverly-Anne Carter, CLL Director. Airfare for Ms. Morgan and Dr Rampersad was graciously sponsored by Caribbean Airlines. [Source: UWI Marketing and Communications]

For a copy of Dr. Laguardia Martinez' Speech, click here.


UK Marketing firm, Fortitude Partners Ltd visits the Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean and the Institute of International Relations

        Paul Baverstock and Robert Nuttall sign the visitors' book in the office of the Director of the IIR.

Fortitude Partners Ltd has been contracted to undertake a branding exercise for the newly established Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean. This will help the Academy project its image globally and communicate and market its modules and services to a wider audience in the Caribbean and beyond.

3 December 2014

Professor Jorge Mario Sanchez, University of Havana Cuba, pays visit to IIR

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Above: Visiting Research Fellow, Prof Jorge Mario Sanchez Egozcue, of the University of Havana, signs the Distinguished Visitors' book and meets with the Director of the Institute of International Relations. Below: Prof Sanchez delivers informative lecture on the changing Cuba-Caribbean relations. Prof Sanchez will be researching and teaching, as part of his Fellowship, in the IIR before returning to Cuba.

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The University of Havana and the IIR are developing stronger relations via the signing on a MOU that will facilitate the exchange of faculty and students, the hosting of joint conferences, the running of a module on Cuba-Caricom relations for the Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean, and the development of joint research examining the impact of a "post-embargo" Cuba on the Caribbean.

24 Nov 2014


An IDRC (International Development Research Centre) Working Breakfast on Research that Addresses innovation and competitiveness - a side event to the VIII Americas Competitiveness Forum. The event was facilitated by the Canadian High Commission to Trinidad and Tobago and the IIR.



His Excellency Michel Joseph Martelly, President of Haiti pays visit to the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, to discuss his new policy on Universal Education in Haiti.

Wednesday 8th October, 2014.



IIR collaborates with Project Ploughshares (Canada) to host a 2-day workshop (Sept 10 & 11) at the UWI conference centre.


The Institute of International Relations and Project Ploughshares, propose to extend and deepen previous research undertaken by the two parties in 2013, on the role of private security in the Caribbean to include case studies and policy analysis and recommendations with partners in Central and South America.

Project Ploughshares is a Canadian non-government organization that works internationally to advance policies and actions that prevent war and build peace. It works with civil society and governments to control and reduce the impact of small arms and light weapons, and nuclear disarmament and outer space security.

Ploughshares has been active in the Caribbean for over a decade, including support for negotiation and implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty that opened for signature in 2013 with the strong support of CARICOM members.


Professor Knight invited to Conference in Maryland

IIR Director, Prof. Andy Knight invited to attend International Conference meeting, against Child Protection from Ebola & HIV/AIDS Treatment. It is set to take place from November 24th to 29th, Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland MD USA. The conference meeting will contain various talks and mini workshops related to the issues of Human Rights and Health Care.

G20 special representative visits T&T

The Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean and the Australian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago hosted a Round Table Discussion on Monday 28th July, at the Hyatt Hotel, Port of Spain.

The discussion was led by Mr. Daniel Sloper, Australia's G20 Special Repesentative.
Mr Sloper outlined plans for Australia’s hosting of the G20 Leaders in Brisbane, November 2014.

[Read News Article]


Newly Appointed Chilean Ambassador Pays Courtesy Call to IIR


                                    chile ambassador

Newly appointed Chilean Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Fernando Schmidt Ariztía, paid a courtesy visit to Professor Andy Knight, director of the Institute of International Relations on Thursday 24th July, 2014. His Excellency has previously taken up posts as Chile’s ambassador to South Korea, Hungary and Brazil, as well as consul in Ushuaia, Argentina.


Dr. Annita Montoute Contributes to Expert Roundtable on the Future of ACP – EU Relations


Dr. Annita Montoute was invited by the Multinational Development Policy Dialogue of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Foundation to participate in an expert roundtable -‘What after Cotonou? Cooperation between the EU and the ACP countries beyond 2020’, in Cadenabbia, Italy,  22 to 24 June 2014. The invitation came out of collaboration with the Centre for Conflict Resolution in South Africa, for which she is currently co–editing a book on ACP – EU relations.   Dr. Montoute presented on the panel ‘Values and Aspirations – a basis for a partnership beyond 2020?’ in which the following questions were addressed:

  • How should coordination with other representative bodies like the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) or the African Union take place?
  •  How to integrate the private sector? How to better involve CSOs on both continents?
  • How to address more effectively good governance, democracy and human rights?
  •  How to better include global trends such as demography, migration, cyber security, energy and climate changes in the agenda?
  • How to ensure a fruitful process towards a decision on the future of the ACP-EU relationship?

The roundtable was attended by high level delegates, including, from the ACP Secretariat, ACP Eminent Persons Group, the European Commission, the Diplomatic Service, Academia, Think Tanks, the Private Sector and NGOs. The broad objective of the seminar was to contribute to the discussion on the way forward for ACP – EU relations after the Cotonou Agreement expires in 2020.


The Institute of International Relations is named as a contributor to BP’s “CSC Leaders for Students” Programme.

The CSC Leaders for Students Programme, a four-day leadership development programme, took place in Trinidad from 20th – 23rd May, 2014. The programme is usually held in cities where significant numbers of students across the Commonwealth study.  It attracted 173 applications from students hailing from 11 different countries throughout the Caribbean.  The programme was actualized thanks to sponsorship by BP, allowing a number of senior staff to make contributions.

Professor W. Andy Knight, Director of the Institute of International Relations, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, was invited to be a guest contributor to the programme. The CSC Leaders for Students Programme proved to be very successful and highly appreciated by the youth participants, who were able to describe the programme as an excellent value for their time. They also commented that they were able to grow in confidence and took a great deal from meeting with the host of contributors.


IIR Director bids farewell to The Chilean Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago

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IIR Director bids farewell to The Chilean Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Fernando Ayala, at the Chilean Ambassador's residence. May 23, 2014. The Ambassador will be posted to Rome.


Welcome to this residence, The House of Chile in Trinidad and Tobago.   As you already know, it is time for my family and me to leave to a new mission in Rome,  to represent our country as Ambassadors to Italy.   We have spent almost two years in the Caribbean, and we have enjoyed it so much. We have learned a lot about the history, art and culture of Trinidad and Tobago. It has been an extremely enriching experience.
First of all, because of the wonderful people we have had the chance to meet here - we have made deep friendships that will last a lifetime. And then comes nature: Maracas beach, our all-time favourite for a Sunday lime. Hiking through rivers and rainforests. The humming-, and all the other birds. The enormous size of our old trees here in Saint Clair.  The climate, this warmth. Our morning yoga sessions with heavy rainfall on the zinc roof. Tobago, where we went so often with our visitors from many countries, enjoying clean turquoise waters, dramatic skies and sunsets. The Caroni swamp where, as Derek Walcott put it in his speech upon receiving the Nobel Prize, scarlet ibises “cover an islet into a flowering tree, an anchored immortelle.” And art. To those artists who are honouring us with their presence tonight – I can spot prominent masmen, goldsmiths, actors, playwrights, filmmakers, painters, writers, poets and musicians: thank you for your craft. And thanks to all of our friends who support creativity: festival organisers, producers, critics, journalists, editors, diplomats, customers, collectors, gallerists and generous sponsors.  All resumed in the expression of Carnival.  Yes, we DID play mas, and loved it.   Two years is not much time for a diplomatic posting, but I feel we maximized this time in order to increase the ties between Chile and Trinidad and Tobago. I think we can be satisfied, because we have managed to build a solid friendship based on a simple principle: “We buy your gas, and you drink our wines”.
In September this year we are going to celebrate 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries with a concert performed by the Chilean string quartet “Andrés Bello”. Thanks to the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, you are all invited.  
So let me mention some significant events that illustrate the state of art:  last year we signed an important agreement between the UWI and Universidad de Chile, the largest public university in our country, which has opened a door for cooperation in many fields, particularly in seismology where we are already working. South-south cooperation has become a tradition. Minister Dookeran paid an official visit to Chile in 2013 and held political consultations with our Minister. Chile was the second country after Mexico to formalize its support to Trinidad and Tobago as host of the Secretariat for the Arms Trade Treaty. And the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival - traditionally focussing on films exclusively from the Anglophone Caribbean -, last year opened its programming for three Chilean movies. We hope this will turn into a tradition.   Dear friends:  we just started a new Government lead by a woman, our President Michelle Bachelet. She visited Trinidad and Tobago for the Summit of the Americas in 2009, and I had the honour of being part of that delegation. She is back, re-elected by the great majority of our people. Her message to what I like to call the “Latin Caribbean America” is crystal clear: let’s work together, increase our ties in all fields, uniting countries from the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic.  CELAC as well as in other institutions and mechanisms are the main tools to strengthen our economies. As the coat of arms of Trinidad and Tobago says: “Together we aspire, together we achieve”.   And I want to conclude by expressing my deepest gratitude to my amazing team: my family, Anke and Federico, and the staff of Embassy and residence: my deputy Lorena, Patricio, Michelle, Ailed, Mary Carmen, Matthew, Shirley, Juanjo, Gizelle and, very important, Ron, the dog who brought so much joy into our life at the residence and who is barking right now, because he was not been invited…
So let’s party. “Las lap”.
  Port of Spain, May 23rd 2014.


UNICEF And UWI’s Institute Of International Relations Sign MOU on Children’s Issues

The Institute of International Relations (IIR) of The University of the West Indies and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a hub for the creation and facilitation of the Caribbean Child Rights Observatory Network (CCRON).

As signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, CARICOM member countries are therefore committed by treaty to respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of all children in their respective countries. CCRON will ensure collection of relevant data, accurate analysis and dissemination of information on the situation of children in the region, while reporting and providing feedback as well as support to countries in the implementation and development of evidence-informed policies for children across the Caribbean.

See Express Article