News Releases

IIR celebrates 50 years

For Release Upon Receipt - February 22, 2017

St. Augustine

The Institute of International Relations (IIR) of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2016. To commemorate this significant milestone, the Institute formally launched a book titled “A History of the Institute of the International Relations: 50 Years and Beyond” on February 16. The work was co-authored by Dr. Raymond Mark Kirton and Dr. Khellon Quacy Roach.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal Professor Brian Copeland was at the launch and commented on the significance of the IIR to the Caribbean region. He noted that “No one could disagree that the IIR finds itself even more relevant today than in the mid-20th century. There is a proliferation of issues that need critical examination, analysis, and intervention from a Caribbean perspective. I refer specifically to climate change, migration, human trafficking, human rights, global health, crime and security, terrorism, and - more recently – BREXIT and Trump Diplomacy.”

This seven chapter publication takes readers on a journey of the evolution of IIR from its inception as a small, 14-student training unit to its current prestige as a globally recognized regional centre for the analysis and advancement of international relations and global issues from a Caribbean perspective with over 100 students. The Institute, known for its remarkable track record of producing outstanding Caribbean leaders emerged in 1966 out of an international agreement between the Swiss Confederation (the Government of Switzerland) and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. The authors anticipate that this publication will highlight the enormous contribution which the IIR has made to the development of Caribbean society.


Overview of publication:

Chapter 1 - ‘In the Beginning (1960 – 1965)’: sets the context by outlining the academic precursors to IIR and the role of the Swiss Government in the establishment of IIR.

Chapter 2 - ‘The Early History of IIR (1966 – 1971)’:  this chapter describes the achievements of the Institute under the leadership of Swiss staff such as Professors - Ulrich Haeflin, Roy Preiswerk and Yves Collart (all founding Swiss IIR Directors).

Chapter 3 - ‘IIR in Transition – The Era of Restructuring (1972 – 1980)’: this chapter describes the many changes which took place when the Swiss Government ‘passed the baton’ to the Caribbean region to take ownership and responsibility for IIR and consequently when IIR adopted a new Constitution.

Chapter 4 is entitled, ‘IIR in Transition – The Era of Expansion (1981 – 1997)’:  reflection on the growth of the Institute both physically (in terms of its infrastructure and student numbers) and academically (in terms of its programmes and areas covered).

Chapter 5 is entitled, ‘IIR in Transition – The Era of Challenges & Opportunities (1998 – 2007)’: this chapter identifies some of the main challenges of the Institute, including that of financing, as a result of the withdrawal of contributing countries, but also describes the opportunities which emerged through the strengthening of relations with The UWI and its connections with IIR alumni.

Chapter 6 - ‘The Dawn of a New Era 2008 – 2016’:  This chapter presents some of the more recent activities and accomplishments of the Institute such as the strengthening of links with the diplomatic community through the establishment of ‘Diplomatic Dialogues’, and a return to its original mandate of diplomatic training with the recent establishment of the Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean.

Chapter 7 - ‘Celebrating 50 Distinguished Alumni for 50 Years of Service’:  a reflection on the calibre of alumni produced by the Institute including alumni such as His Excellency Brigadier David A. Granger, the President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Professor Sir Kenneth Hall, the former Governor-General of Jamaica and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Mona Campus and the late Ambassador Henry Gill, the former Director-General of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery among others. This chapter gives the reader an appreciation of the magnitude of service provided by the Institute of International Relations to the regional and global community over the last five decades.

 About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:

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