News Releases

Sir Shridath Ramphal to launch memoir, Glimpses of a Global Life, at UWI

For Release Upon Receipt - November 21, 2014

St. Augustine



Former Jamaican Prime Minister, The Most Honourable P.J. Patterson, calls it a “brilliant recollection ... of an intellectual Titan whose breadth of talents and depth of experience resulted in the summons to serve on six international Commissions” 

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago – On November 28, Dr. The Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will join former Commonwealth Secretary-General and Chancellor Emeritus of The UWI, Sir Shridath Ramphal, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The UWI St. Augustine, Professor Clement Sankat and other distinguished guests at the campus to launch Glimpses of a Global Life, Sir Shridath’s memoir. The launch is to take place at the campus’ Learning Resource Centre from 5.30pm. 

In this memoir, Ramphal tells the story of the Commonwealth’s role in ending the Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Southern Rhodesia by a minority white regime and bringing Zimbabwe to independence; of aiding the struggle against apartheid and securing its end, and the release of Nelson Mandela and South Africa’s freedom; of the obduracy of Britain’s Margaret Thatcher against sanctions and the heroic stand against her by other Commonwealth leaders – from Africa, India, the Caribbean, Canada and Australia. Ramphal replaces conjecture over these dark episodes in human history with fact. 

The book is also a remarkable account of the Caribbean’s ambivalence about integration. As an insider from the formation of the West Indies Federation; its collapse; the creation of CARIFTA and CARICOM in the effort to pool the individual sovereignty of each country into a beneficial whole; and the seminal work of the West Indian Commission in charting the course for the region’s holistic development, Ramphal recounts the opportunities, the failures to act on them, and the triumphs when regional governments acted together. He also recalls the roles of leading Caribbean personalities who advanced and retarded the region’s cohesion over a period of 50 years. 

“Glimpses of a Global Life” is an analysis of major problems and challenges that dominated the Caribbean, the Commonwealth and the World in the 20th century, and that continue to shape the contours of the 21st. 

Shridath ‘Sonny’ Ramphal has lived a long and global life. He is a lawyer and international diplomat who led the Commonwealth of Nations as the association's longest serving Secretary-General during its crucial years as an international player. Leaders from every continent engaged with him as he worked alongside them on issues such as ending apartheid in South Africa; laying the foundations for global concerns about the environment; the reform of global governance; and the resolution of conflicts. 

The memoir is published by Hansib Publications Ltd, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom and is available in paperback and e-book versions at  

The book launch is by invitation only. For further information, please call 662-2002 exts: 83942/83937/82180/83182  


Editor’s Notes: 

What world statesmen say about the memoir:  

  • “Sonny Ramphal ... was, by far, the ablest and most effective of all the Secretaries-General of the Commonwealth. He understood the principles which were important to the strength and unity of the Commonwealth.” RT HON MALCOLM FRASER, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA (1975-1983) 

  • “... a brilliant recollection ... of an intellectual Titan whose breadth of talents and depth of experience resulted in the summons to serve on six international Commissions.” THE MOST HONOURABLE P.J. PATTERSON, PRIME MINISTER OF JAMAICA (1992-2006) 

  • "This is a book about tomorrow. Sonny Ramphal's "glimpses" of a recent past are powerful guides to our troubling future."  RT HON JOE CLARK, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA (1979-1980), SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EXTERNAL AFFAIRS (1984-1991) 

  • “... a beautifully written and revelatory story stemming not just from his adroit use of 20th century papers released under the 30-year rule, but his description of his ancestral past and the links between slavery and indenture.” LORD DAVID STEEL OF AIKWOOD, LEADER OF THE LIBERAL PARTY, UK (1976-1988) 

  • “Sonny Ramphal describes his vision and crafts a rich account of his service to the international community. The book provides a timely reminder of the importance of multilateral cooperation.” KOFI ANNAN, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS (1997-2006) 

  • “Sonny Ramphal has written an extremely valuable book. I know first-hand of the patience and strong leadership he displayed in bringing the Commonwealth nations together for the greatest achievements in its history ... [He] recaptures the drama and colour of some historic moments accurately and well.” THE RIGHT HONOURABLE BRIAN MULRONEY, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA (1984-1993) 

  • “This is a beautifully written memoir composed with sharp insight and clear vision by one of the foremost statesmen of the 20th century...” IAN MCDONALD, AUTHOR AND POET 

    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, 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. 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. Website: 

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