News Releases

The Rise of China and Its Impact on the Caribbean

For Release Upon Receipt - January 12, 2015

St. Augustine

UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. 12 January 2015 – What does the rise of China’s economy and active diplomacy mean for the Caribbean? The Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean examines China’s hegemony during its first module for 2015. The week-long intensive course runs from January 19th to 24th at The UWI’s St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago.

The course, which is the Academy’s 8th module, is designed to equip participants with an up-to-date understanding of how China rapidly moved from a position of isolation and poverty to become second only to the United States in national power, in just over three decades. It will cover a number of discussion themes including, The Diplomatic History of China; The Economy of China; China and its Asian Neighbours; Contemporary Challenges; The Diplomatic Culture of China; China’s Relations with the Caribbean and South-South Cooperation.

According to Professor W. Andy Knight, Director of the Institute of International Relations at The University of the West Indies, who also leads The Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean, “China is too big and important to ignore. This is why anyone who is working in the multilateral environment, especially individuals from small states in the Caribbean, should try to grapple with what it means to have China challenge the US for global supremacy”. 

Continuing the Diplomatic Academy’s tradition of soliciting prominent international and regional experts, this module will be led by His Excellency Dr Richard Bernal, who is a Diplomat as well as an Economist at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC, and Mr Gordon Houlden, Director of the Chinese Institute University of Alberta, Canada. 

Since 2010 Ambassador Richard Bernal he has been the Alternate Executive Director for the Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago at the Inter-American Development Bank. He is a professional economist with over 35 years of experience. His publications and research interests include “China and Small Island Developing States”, “China’s Rising Investment Profile in the Caribbean”, “Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in the Caribbean” and “China’s Growing Economic Presence in the Caribbean”.  

Mr Gordon Houlden has had 28 years of direct experience working with China, and five diplomatic assignments in China. He is responsible for the overall management of the China Institute including programming, development and networking in his capacity as Director of the Chinese Institute University of Alberta.  He also serves as the Co-Chair of the China Regional Advisory Council and a Professor with the university’s Department of Political Science. 

Speaking on what participants can expect Houlden states, "China, an ancient civilization, has built in just over 30 years a modern economy with global impact.  What can Caribbean states learn from China; what aspects of Chinese policies can be adapted to the Caribbean, and how can Caribbean businesses take advantage of opportunities generated by China's rise is the core of this course." 

Interested persons for “The Rise of China and Its Impact on the Caribbean” module may email, call 868-662-2002 extension 83237 or visit the Academy’s website at 

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About The Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean

The Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean is a joint project between The University of the West Indies (The UWI) through its Institute of International Relations and the Government of Trinidad & Tobago and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  It is a global academy for Caribbean Diplomacy, the first of its kind in the region and provides learning and training to a cross-section of target groups and beneficiaries involved in international cooperation negotiations and transactions within the CARICOM region and beyond. Website: | Facebook: | Twitter: