December 2017

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Change is here

This issue of UWI TODAY is indeed a special one – for the contributors, the editor, the entire Marketing and Communications Office, and for me. It’s not every day you reach a hundred, and it is something to celebrate as we mark the 100th issue of the paper and the journey it has made since 2008.

The paper has evolved somewhat from the early days. I see it as a vehicle taking the stories of St. Augustine – its campus community of staff and students – to the world outside. There is much that happens within that is remarkable and the monthly paper helps us to let people know what kind of discoveries are taking place, and how the academic institution is actually very relevant to the quality of their lives.

As we near the end of 2017 and close off, in a sense, with the 100th issue of our campus paper, it encourages some reflection on the experiences of 2017.

We began the year with a great consciousness of the impact of the global financial downturn on Trinidad and Tobago and on our Campus. Still in the Taoist Yin Yang concept, the situation was the starting point for change. It has forced us to continuously explore ways in which we could be more productive through greater efficiency and resourcefulness. Change is inevitable. The difference between success and failure is our ability to gauge the environment, predict trends, adapt where necessary, and seize opportunities as they present themselves.

A deliberate strategy on our part has been to engage the Campus community and wider network of alumni, partners, friends, and other stakeholders in a variety of ways. These included public lectures, conferences, and symposia. Our research continues to increase in relevance and our teaching and learning is still of the highest quality in the region.

The face-to-face sessions with our student body have been very heartening and I congratulate the current Guild for its commendable leadership in keeping lines of connection open and active. The activism I saw as we navigated Campus security matters and the proposed renaming of Milner Hall has made me proud. It convinces me that we are doing something right. I encourage all students of The UWI and of life to hold your own as critical thinkers, speak out, and stand up for what you believe in. Remember that the future is yours and you have the opportunity right now to carve and to shape it.

There is so much in store for us in 2018. We kick off the year with our now annual UWI Fete that funds bursaries for UWI students. The 2016 event allowed us to give 210 bursaries to undergraduate and postgraduate students based on academic performance (including co-curricular studies) and financial need. In these increasingly difficult economic times, the purchase of just one ticket to the event multiplies a thousand-fold.

Next year The UWI commemorates 70 years of service and leadership to this region. UWI’s unique legacy, contributions, and role at the national, regional, and international levels will be celebrated. Our avowed mission is to advance learning, create knowledge, and foster innovation for the positive transformation of the Caribbean and the wider world. Consider that our network of more than 120,000 alumni is represented at the highest level of government, corporate, and professional life. Twenty-six of our graduates have been Heads of Government or President; one is a Nobel Laureate.

In spite of the ups and downs that The University and this Region face, The UWI will always do its part to prepare and motivate succeeding generations so as to achieve that ultimate goal – sustainable development throughout our lands. It is only fitting, therefore that, in this 70th year – on January 23 – the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) will host a one-day Memorial Symposium on the life and work of Arthur Lewis. Sir Arthur served as our first West Indian Principal and our first Vice-Chancellor. He was also the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Economics.

Next year, the 70th anniversary celebrations will kick in across the campuses, and we will find many reasons to appreciate how The UWI has been a remarkable force in the development of the Caribbean and its people from colonial times to Independence and past that.

It is significant that when the Federation fell apart in the 1950s, The UWI was one of just a couple of institutions that managed to survive the cleavages that occurred. The various forms of celebration that will take place over the course of the next year will start with thanksgiving services across the region.

To our readers, I wish to personally thank you for your interest and support and for your continued commitment to the institution and to regional development. Through you, we have managed to sustain this university as the number one tertiary institution in the region.

On behalf of my family and on my own behalf, I wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

My very best to you and your families for good health, success, productivity, and prosperity!


Campus Principal: Professor Brian Copeland
Director of Marketing and Communications: Dr. Dawn-Marie De Four-Gill
Editor: Vaneisa Baksh (Email: )

Contact us:
The UWI Marketing and Communications Office
Tel: (868) 662-2002 exts. 82013, 83997