News Releases

Machel Montano: AFUWI Award is Dream Come True

For Release Upon Receipt - March 9, 2016

St. Augustine

Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. March 2, 2016 – Trinbagonian soca star, Machel Montano hailed the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) 2016 Bob Marley Award to him as “a dream come true”. 

Montano who has been performing since age seven and has produced 42 albums over a 33-year career, was among awardees at the AFUWI’s 19th Annual Legacy Awards Gala in New York on February 24, 2016. The event which was held under the auspices of honorary patron, Dr Harry Belafonte, O.J., raises funds for The UWI. 

AFUWI Awards are conferred on notable individuals or entities which represent high levels of achievement in their respective fields of industries, enterprise and service in their communities. 

Noting that he wanted to study at The UWI but went instead to "the University of Hard Knocks traveling the world in pursuit of a career in music", Montano said that "receiving the AFUWI Bob Marley Award is a dream come true for me. It feels like my graduation". In his acceptance speech, Montano thanked the AFUWI for honoring him and God for the privilege of a talent that has allowed him to achieve so much. He added that he was very grateful for where music had taken him. He looked up to the example of Trinbagonian calypsonians like the Mighty Sparrow and Lord Kitchener and others including Harry Belafonte and Bob Marley. 

In his remarks at the gala, UWI Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, described the event as "a celebration of excellence and access to The UWI". Noting that the proceeds of the annual AFUWI gala funds scholarships to the University, Sir Hilary thanked the sponsors and patrons for their support and assistance in helping to maintain the highest standards at the institution.

"Thank you for standing with our University. Thank you for ensuring we can deliver quality education for the young people of the Caribbean. Thank you for your generosity", the Vice-Chancellor declared.  

Pointing to England's Oxford University which claims to have produced 60 Prime Ministers, Sir Hilary said The UWI also had a proud legacy and "is the only university that could boast seven Prime Ministers sitting at one time".  

Vice-Chancellor Beckles used the opportunity to point out that The UWI has ‘gone global’ with the establishment of a UWI China Institute for Information Technology in China. He told gala guests that The UWI is partnering with a number of other distinguished academic institutions including the State University of New York (SUNY) where both institutions have developed a Centre for Sustainable Development. 

AFUWI Chairman, Lowell Hawthorne thanked awardees and guests at the gala for their contributions. He said, “It will change the lives of so many young people by providing a pathway to progress.” 

Other awardees at the AFUWI 2016 Gala included Dr Harold Freeman, CEO, President and Founder of the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute in New York and Professor Emeritus of Surgery at Columbia University; who received the ‘AFUWI Lifetime Achievement Award’. Daphne Jones, Chief Information Officer at GE Healthcare Global Services, received the ‘Caribbean Luminary Award’. Larry Miller, President of the Jordan Brand, a division of Nike Inc., was presented with the ‘Trailblazer Award’. Directors of the Phillip & Christine Gore Family Foundation, Phillip Gore and Christine Gore both received the ‘Vice-Chancellor’s Achievement Award’ and  Tirrell Whittley, Liquid Soul’s, CEO and Principal, received the AFUWI ‘Corporate Award’. 

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Related Story: Machel Montano among Honourees at UWI Fundraising Gala in NY 




The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) was established in 1956 to develop an endowment fund in the United States for The University of the West Indies (The UWI). Over the past decades, AFUWI has provided scholarships and grants and funded many special projects to foster the development of the University of the West Indies. The original patrons of the Foundation included such distinguished individuals as Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Her Royal Highness, Princess Alice. Today, AFUWI patrons include actor and songwriter Dr Harry Belafonte; Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott; and Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, individuals that are committed to creating increased educational opportunities for generations of West Indian people to come.



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 fully-fledged, regional University with over 50,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with three physical campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and an Open Campus. The UWI serves 17 English-speaking countries and territories in the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, The British Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos. The UWI’s faculty and students come from more than 40 countries and The University has collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. The 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.

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