News Releases

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits UWI for #CaribbeanYouthSpeak

For Release Upon Receipt - July 1, 2015

St. Augustine

Event to take place simultaneously on UWI’s three physical campuses

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. July 1, 2015 –  Young people across the Caribbean will have a rare opportunity to directly state their concerns to the United Nation’s (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon when The University of the West Indies (The UWI) hosts a UN youth symposium Caribbean Youth Speak this Friday, July 3, 2015.

The symposium takes place at The UWI Cave Hill Campus and simultaneously via video conference across the other two physical UWI Campuses at Mona, Jamaica and St. Augustine in Trinidad. The UWI St Augustine invites all youth to join staff, students and members of the wider community at Lecture D, Teaching and Learning Complex on the campus from 9am. It will also be streamed live from 10am AST via

Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the UN’s eighth Secretary-General, is looking forward to a lively engagement with young citizens of the Caribbean, “2015 represents an opportunity for transformation and young people are in the driving seat of this change,” said Mr. Ban, “I am very much looking forward to listening to the views of the youth of this region on how we can ensure a life of dignity for all.” The UN Chief will be in Barbados for the 36th CARICOM Heads of Governments Summit and will engage university students and representatives of youth organisations across the region under the theme Caribbean Youth Speak: The World We Want Post -2015.

Crime and violence, youth unemployment, climate change and gender-based violence are among issues likely to be discussed during the live interaction.  Hundreds of high school and tertiary level students have been invited to be part of the audience at Cave Hill as well as at the Mona, St. Augustine and Open Campus sites via video conference. The 90-minute town-hall-styled meeting will also be broadcast on dozens of television channels to regional countries and the Caribbean Diaspora.


Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, considers the Symposium an historic occasion. He noted that it would represent the second visit to The UWI’s Cave Hill Campus by a UN dignitary in the past three years, following that of Director General of UNESCO Madame Irina Bokova in June 2012.

Sir Hilary, who was appointed to a UN Scientific Advisory Board in late 2013, said UWI’s hosting of the event underscored the close collaborative ties between the two institutions and augurs well for future joint undertakings. He pointed to longstanding support and research funding which the UN has provided to UWI enterprises such as the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies and the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies.   

Commenting on the initiative, he stated, "Hosting His Excellency is an honour, in my academic capacity as a member of his recently established Science Advisory Board, and as Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies that is recognised within the United Nations as a key strategic partner in the attaining of his strategic goals as Secretary General. As we pay respect to his outstanding service to the United Nations we will celebrate his recognition that Caribbean students and youth have a voice and visions worthy of his attention and engagement. "

Principal of Cave Hill campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau, said it was a special honour to be asked by the UN to facilitate the upcoming dialogue which she saw as an ideal opportunity for young people across the region to express their concerns with a view to having them placed on the global agenda.

"There are many global issues of immediate concern to Caribbean countries, global warming and food security are two of them. I am looking forward to a fruitful dialogue between His Excellency, UN. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon and the region's next generation of leaders," she added.

For further details on how to be a part of the live audience at The UWI St. Augustine, email

About The UN

Overview: The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945.  It is currently made up of 193 Member States.  The mission and work of the United Nations are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.

Leadership: The Secretary-General of the United Nations is a symbol of the Organization's ideals and a spokesman for the interests of the world's peoples, in particular the poor and vulnerable. The current Secretary-General of the UN, and the eighth occupant of the post, is Mr. Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea, who took office on 1 January 2007. The UN




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.)