News Releases

Two US Honours for UWI Vice-Chancellor

For Release Upon Receipt - March 2, 2017


On Tuesday 28th February, 2017, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, was honoured with the internationally prestigious Amistad Award from Central Connecticut State University. The presentation was made by President of the University,

Dr. Zulma Toro, who spoke of the role played by Vice-Chancellor Beckles in international university leadership and in particular, public education in the Caribbean.

The award states that: “The Amistad Award is conferred in recognition of his outstanding contributions to historical knowledge and the struggle for human rights and social justice”.

In 1839 the Slave Ship "Amistad" arrived in the USA with 53 Africans. With the help of anti-slavery activists, and the legal advocacy of former President of the USA, John Quincy Adams, the captives were able to litigate to gain their freedom. A Federal Judge in the state of Connecticut ruled that they were illegally brought to the country and had a right to rebel against their captors. The trial of the Amistad 53 became the most famous law case in American history. The State, and its university, mark this historic moment and honour the men and women aboard the Amistad for the tenacity and courage in gaining their freedom.  Vice-Chancellor Beckles in accepting the award, thanked President Toro, and the Amistad Committee, for their collegial generosity and pledged his continued support for global civil rights and the quest for greater human dignity in the face of the corrosive challenges of everyday life.

Mayor of the City of Hartford in Connecticut, Luke Bronin also declared March 2nd, 2017 “Sir Hilary Beckles Day”. The proclamation comes following a series of public engagements in the city by the Vice-Chancellor Beckles. In reference to the honour, Mayor Bronin cited Vice-Chancellor Beckles’ “global service in the cause of to social justice, peace, and sustainable development”.


About Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is an Economic Historian, was installed as the 8th Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) on 30, May, 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 thirteen years (2002-2015). Sir Hilary is a distinguished university administrator, and transformational leader in higher education.

For his complete biography, visit: 

About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (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, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in BarbadosJamaicaTrinidad 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. The 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. For more information, visit

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