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UWI Vice-Chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles: “We are neighbours, let’s take responsibility...

For Release Upon Receipt - September 15, 2017


Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, has called on the people of Latin America and the Caribbean to “Take responsibility for each other and establish ownership of each other.”

Speaking at the launch of the We Are Neighbours exhibition series hosted by the University’s Latin American-Caribbean Centre (LACC) at the Mona Campus on September 8, 2017, Sir Hilary said, “201 years ago Simon Bolivar travelled to Haiti to meet with leaders like Henri Christophe to plan a vision for this region.”  He added, “The arrangement made was that Haiti would provide the arms and ships to liberate all of Latin America, while Simon Bolivar agreed he would abolish slavery all over the region and give us a coherent vision of ourselves. This vision of who we are, is what we should celebrate.”

He noted that The UWI which celebrates its 70th year of establishment as a regional university next year, has moved to set up teaching and research centres all over the world including the SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development in New York, USA, The UWI China Institute of Information Technology in Suzhou and the Institute for  Global Africa Affairs in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“It would be tragic if in light of the 200th Anniversary of the Bolivar Summit, we do not establish important teaching and research centres for Caribbean studies in Latin America and centres for Latin American studies across the Caribbean,” said Sir Hilary.

Ambassador Gillian Bristol, Director of LACC said, “The We Are Neighbours exhibition series, an initiative of the LACC, is intended to increase options for career building and business opportunities in international trade within the region.”

The exhibition series which runs from September 2017 to April 2018, at The UWI Regional Headquarters, gives each country from Latin America and the Caribbean, with a diplomatic mission, an opportunity to showcase their trade within their region as well as their domestic products with each mission hosting a three-day exhibition during the period.

Ambassador Bristol said, “The bold aspiration of this initiative is to offer to fertile minds and daring entrepreneurs, knowledge and opportunity to grow and contribute to their national and regional advancement.  The reach of such a programme is infinite, as its success will be marked by the commercial endeavours of those who plant the seeds of information which they gain from the country exhibits and expert lectures in their own careers and businesses; and in turn, We Are Neighbours will by extension, be registered in the bolstered economic development of our nations and region,” she declared.

In his message read at the opening ceremony by Professor Ishenkumba Kawa, Deputy Principal of The UWI Mona Campus, on behalf of Professor Archibald McDonald, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal said, “As a higher learning institution we are keen on building bonds with regional and indeed international actors which are focused on the professional and academic development of our students and wider community. The concept of regional and intergovernmental collaboration is key to regional growth and development and the exhibition provides the platform to advance the discussion on regional integration and collaboration further.”

The We Are Neighbours exhibition opened with the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Jamaica at The UWI Regional Headquarters on Monday, September 11, 2017.  It will be followed by exhibits from Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Jamaica, Argentina, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico, Brazil and Chile, respectively.

For more information about the We Are Neighbours exhibition series, please contact the Latin American-Caribbean Centre at tel: (876) 702-4721; (876) 927-1660-9 ext. 8944, 8833, telefax: (876) 977-3015, or email:


Note to the Editor:

Photo Caption- #1631

Raising a toast at the launch of the We Are Neighbours exhibition series of the Latin American-Caribbean Centre (LACC) at The UWI are (l-r) Professor Ishenkumba Kawa, Deputy Principal of The UWI, Mona Campus; Ambassador Gillian Bristol, Director of the LACC; Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI and Ambassador Richard Bernal, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Global Affairs of The UWI.  We Are Neighbours, an initiative of the LACC, is intended to increase options for career building and business opportunities in international trade within the region.

About the Latin American – Caribbean Centre (LACC)

LACC is a university-wide initiative which develops programmes involving all three UWI campuses and non-campus CARICOM territories. Founded in 1993 with the endorsement of the Rio Group, and borne out of the vision of a more integrated region, our mission is to build bridges of understanding and cooperation between Latin America and Caribbean countries in order to span the spatial, linguistic, and historical divides which have traditionally separated our peoples. In this spirit, LACC has participated actively in the integration movement in the region with the support of governments, institutions and agencies in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. The Centre’s areas of operation encompass a range of collaborative activities designed to maximise opportunities for academic and cultural exchange, such as language training programmes, exchange programmes, seminars on intra-regional migration and other topics, cultural events, publications, and more. 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.)