News Releases

Caribbean Forum to challenge conventional wisdom

For Release Upon Receipt - April 9, 2015

St. Augustine

Joint press release issued by Forum on the Future of the Caribbean partner institutions

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago - Regional and international leaders will gather in Port of Spain from 5 to 7 May 2015 to tackle challenges to Caribbean development and identify strategies for securing a sustainable future.  The Forum on the Future of the Caribbean is being co-hosted by The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago in collaboration with United Nations System and regional inter-governmental partners, and The Commonwealth.   

Forum participants - including Caribbean heads of government and policy-makers, civil society and business leaders, and academic experts - will confront existing development paradigms through innovative, disruptive thought. This is aimed at producing models for research, policy development and transformative action to support an equitable, sustainable Caribbean society in the post-2015 period and for generations beyond. 

They will challenge each other to consider persistent development problems in new ways and identify approaches directed at widening opportunities and improving living conditions for all Caribbean citizens.  Agenda areas of focus include all dimensions of poverty, inequality, and resource mobilisation, as well as the specific vulnerabilities of small - often high and middle income - Caribbean States.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Honourable Winston Dookeran, in his welcoming announcement of the Forum, said: “Business as usual cannot possibly meet the complex challenges of poverty, inequality and funding we now face in the region.  We need disruptive thinking and bold action if we are to create a resilient and international Caribbean future.  I believe we need to accelerate regional convergence and new models of diplomacy in a global setting and the Forum provides us a real opportunity to do just that.” 

Vice-Chancellor Designate of The University of the West Indies, Sir Hilary Beckles, sees the Forum as an occasion for renewing “our commitment to the fine tradition of public-minded academic research” at The UWI: “After fifty years of concerted effort Caribbean post-colonial development paradigms have climaxed and yielded poor to moderate results. This Forum is an opportunity for the region to dig in, unearth, and emerge with the energy required to structure new options and different approaches to economic growth and social empowerment.”

UNDP Resident Representative in Trinidad and Tobago, Richard Blewitt, has also expressed enthusiastic support for the Forum, which he is optimistic “will trigger transformative academic research and public policy.” 

Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor of the United Nations Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, is among the prominent speakers to be featured at the Forum.  “2015 offers an historic and once-in-a-generation opportunity,” says Ms. Mohammed. “We need leaders to be courageous and ambitious. I look forward to a robust discussion at the Forum on how to deliver on Caribbean priorities.”

Sessions for the Forum on the Future of the Caribbean will convene at both The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, and the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain. 

For further information please visit, e-mail: or telephone:  (868) 623-7056 ext 256 or 295.

The University of the West Indies 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago

Association Caribbean States (ACS)

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

Development Bank of Latin America (CAF)

Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

International Labour Organization (ILO)

Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID)

Organisation of American States (OAS) 

Organisation of Eastern Caribbean State

The UWI Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business

The UWI Institute of International Relations

The UWI Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago (UNTT)


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.)