News Releases

UWI expands internationalisation agenda

For Release Upon Receipt - July 22, 2015

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. July 22, 2015 – The University of the West Indies (UWI) views internationalisation as an imperative with the acceleration of globalisation and also as a means to bring much benefit to the institution: helping to build internal capacity, facilitating meaningful and impactful research, building the diversity of staff and students, and enhancing the productivity of UWI by embracing examples of international best practices. The University’s 2012-2017 Strategic Plan also identified ‘internationalisation’ as one of six strategic perspectives. It is in this vein that the St. Augustine Campus continues to build capacity, most recently, forging partnerships with the Commonwealth and the Yucatan Centre of Scientific Research (CICY) in the month of June. 

The UWI St Augustine and the CICY signed a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) at the start of the In Vitro Clonal Propagation of Tropical Plants training course, which was hosted on the campus. The CICY, based in Mexico, generates scientific and technological knowledge in the areas of plant biochemistry and renewable energy among other areas in order to contribute to sustainable development of the region.  The collaboration between both institutions in the clonal propagation of tropical plants is intended to help to scale up production of agricultural produce and boost the commercialization efforts in agriculture throughout the region, therefore advancing regional sustainable development. 

In his remarks at the event, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal, Professor Clement Sankat said, “This MOU goes further than a symbolic demonstration of our commitment to cooperate and collaborate. As important as this is, the signing also symbolizes the strengthening of relations and partnerships between our two institutions for the benefit of national and regional development.” Taking into consideration that the St. Augustine Campus is in the process of establishing an Agricultural Innovation Park in Orange Grove, Trincity on 200 acres of land, the Campus Principal said that this research will indeed be useful as “technology is needed to demonstrate productivity in agriculture can be improved, and must be improved.” 

The second partnership came on the occasion of the 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in the Bahamas. Professor Sankat was on-hand for the signing of another MOU, this time between The Commonwealth Secretariat, The UWI and the Commonwealth of Learning. The agreement will allow youth workers in all Commonwealth countries access to certified diploma and degree programmes in youth development work. 

Both programmes will give practitioners the opportunity to develop and refine their skills, which Professor Sankat described as “vital for the professional youth workforce.” The diploma and degree programmes, developed by The UWI and the Commonwealth Secretariat, will be made available to tertiary institutions across the Commonwealth and will be turned into an open education resource which can be used to establish the programmes in other institutions. Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj remarked that the new partnership will enable thousands more persons who work with young people to gain professional qualifications, particularly those in small and developing countries. 

Speaking in a broader sense about The UWI’s internationalisation agenda, Professor Sankat shared the belief that the success of any university depends on its ability to forge strategic alliances with global international partners. He looks towards the creation and expansion of such partnerships in the future. 


About Yucatan Center for Scientific Research (CICY)

CICY ( was founded in 1979. It is a public research institution coordinated by the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), with the mission to generate scientific and technological knowledge in the areas of plant biochemistry and molecular biology, agricultural biotechnology, natural resources, materials science, water sciences, and renewable energy in order to contribute to sustainable development. It is located at Calle 43 No. 130, Colonia Chuburná de Hidalgo; CP 97200, Mérida, Yucatán, México. 

About The Commonwealth Secretariat

The Commonwealth Secretariat provides guidance on policy making, technical assistance and advisory services to Commonwealth member countries. We support governments to help achieve sustainable, inclusive and equitable development. Our work promotes democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance and social and economic development. We are a voice for small states and a champion for youth empowerment. Priority areas of work are agreed at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, which occur every two years. The next summit is in Malta in 2015. 


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.)