News Releases

The UWI and UNDP Empower the Region’s Youth Speak Out on “The Caribbean We Want”

For Release Upon Receipt - April 26, 2017


The University of the West Indies (The UWI) through its Office of Development, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a campaign to engage and empower young persons throughout the Caribbean region to advocate for sustainable approaches to development for future generations. According to the UNDP, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The initiative, called the “SDG Youth Advocacy Campaign” was launched on Tuesday 4 April, 2017 via a live webcast accessible across the region. The recorded webcast can be viewed via:

The one-hour online launch featured Caribbean youth activists including Michael Joseph from Barbados, Project Coordinator of The UWI Youth Development Project (UWI-YDP); Malene Joseph of Trinidad and Tobago, representing the Global Shapers Community Port of Spain Hub and Leanna Kalicharan from Guyana representing the Youth Arm of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Caribbean Chapter. Each shared their reasons for being involved in the project and described the Caribbean they want to live in by 2030.

Michael Joseph stated that he looks forward to “More dynamic partnerships and acknowledgement of community level actions. The SDGs cannot be achieved without our local communities”. Malene Joseph shared her vision for “Greater partnerships and linkages across policy structures with emphasis on Education” and “A united Caribbean having adopted and implemented all 17 SDGs through national policies with more youth initiatives” is what Leanna Kalicharan hopes for by the year 2030.

Following its launch, the implementation of the SDG Youth Advocacy Campaign continues with a film project and photography competition which will provide a platform for young people to use their creative talent to engage with development issues affecting the Caribbean.  The selected student-led projects linked to the SDGs will be featured in a short film to be premiered at the Regional Conference entitled “Caribbean Development – The 2030 Agenda in Perspective”, which takes place on June28-30, 2017 in Kingston, Jamaica. 

Speaking on the role of The UWI in this initiative, Director of Development at The UWI, Mrs. Stacy Richards-Kennedy explained, “This project was conceptualised by The UWI to bring the SDGs more into focus for UWI students across our four campuses and for Caribbean young people, in general.  This generation will be in the prime of their professional careers by the year 2030 and therefore, need to truly understand and ‘own’ the SDGs from now. By using digital technology, social media and our UWItv platforms, young people and youth NGOs can connect with each other, support each other’s initiatives, activate their networks and become more involved in creating the Caribbean they want to see by 2030.  This type of self-organisation, collaboration, advocacy and activism will be critical for us to achieve the SDGs in the Caribbean and The UWI is pleased to play its part in supporting this.”

United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Richard Blewitt also reiterated his support and the support of the UN for this Campaign. “The United Nations Development Programme and the wider UN is proud to support the SDG Youth Advocacy Campaign and partner with The UWI in building awareness of the SDGs among our Caribbean youth. We recognise the critical role of young people as leaders of tomorrow and therefore encourage initiatives, such as this campaign, which strengthen their participation in the regional development agenda. As reiterated in the webinar, localising the Global Goals is critical for achievement in the region and every person in our communities must understand that they have a role to play. The Goals are not achieved by governments, but by the people and the youth must become champions of development in their schools, communities and respective countries. The UN Caribbean team remains committed to empowering the youth and engaging with them on development challenges, solutions and the way forward toward the utilisation of the SDGs in the attainment of Sustainable Development for all.”

The photography competition themed “Through the Lens of Caribbean Youth” is currently open to registered students of any Caribbean tertiary institution, to submit creative and engaging digital photographs highlighting development issues in the Caribbean. Deadline for submission is Friday 19 May, 2017. For further details on the competition visit the SDG Youth Advocacy Caribbean Facebook page or 



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 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. 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.)