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SUNY Launches Year of the Caribbean With Lecture by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

For Release Upon Receipt - March 24, 2017


Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles was the featured speaker at the 2017 Boyer Family Lecture during SUNY Empire State College’s annual All College conference on Wednesday, March 22, in New York.  The event kicked of the Year of the Caribbean at the SUNY Empire which is the first theme of a new initiative designed to explore a topic intensively through a variety of activities at the college.

Vice-Chancellor Beckles’ address explored Reparatory Justice and Economic Development: Critical Support for the Social Growth Paradigm in the Caribbean.

According to Vice-Chancellor Beckles, “Reparations lead to democracy and democracy is founded on the notion of inclusion. The greater the inclusion of more people into the center of decision-making—black, brown, women, etcetera—the stronger the democracy.”

 He noted that the 21st century democratic movement will integrate many marginalised people and that role of education will be to make the community part of the democracy via the “education pipeline” that will help people become part of the economy and make contributions, including the New York State, where many have chosen to live. In the case of Caribbean people, he added, “In the last 50 years, we have come to see the United States as part of our own survival, as people from the Caribbean move to the U.S. and to New York state, and many individuals and corporations from the U.S. see the Caribbean as important to their survival as well, as a core of economic development.”

Photo courtesy: SUNY Empire State College

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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 Ernest L. Boyer Sr. Family Lecture Series

The Boyer Lecture Series was established in 2004 by Kathryn Boyer ‘78 in memory and honor of her late husband, Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY System from 1970 to 1977, who was instrumental in the founding of Empire State College in 1971. The lecture series also honors Ernest Boyer’s son, Stephen Paul Boyer ’86, now an adjunct mentor at the college’s Center for Distance Learning, grandson Gabriel Boyer ’04 and Kathryn Boyer ‘78.

About SUNY

The State University of New York (SUNY) is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. In 2014-15, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit bearing courses and programs and nearly 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in nearly $1 billion of externally-sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree are SUNY alumni. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, 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.)