News Releases

The UWI Express Condolences on the Passing of Professor Boshnodat Vishnu Persaud

For Release Upon Receipt - July 26, 2016


The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. 26 July 2016. The University of the West Indies Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) and the rest of The University community extend deepest condolences to the family of Professor Bishnodat Vishnu Persaud on his passing.  

In tribute to Professor Persaud, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles expressed, “It is indeed sad when The University and the Caribbean lose such a brilliant mind like Professor Persaud’s. His visionary leadership sought to increase the capacity of our institution to address issues of sustainable development and even as our region continues to grapple with the global economic recession and other sustainability challenges, we hold a deep sense of gratitude for the foundation he created. I am confident that his legacy will live on.”  

Professor Persaud was the founding Director of the ISD, formerly The University of the West Indies Centre for the Environment and Development (UWICED) in 1992. He was The UWI’s first Chair of the Centre sponsored by the Alcan Bauxite Company in Jamaica and the first Professor for Sustainable Development. Before assuming office as Director of UWICED, Professor Persaud served as a Research Fellow and also Head of the Institute for Social and Economic Research (now the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies/SALISES) at the Cave Hill Campus. He was made an Honorary Professor of The UWI when he left in 1996.  

He moved on to serve the Commonwealth Secretariat as Director and Head of its Economic Affairs Division for a decade. For many years, Professor Persaud was also a member of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s High-Level Committee on Development Policy (HLCDP).  He was a member of the UN sub-committee which recommended the classification of Least Developed States and co-chaired a UN Expert Group for the vulnerability of small island states and a UN Expert group on vulnerability indices for Small Island Developing States.  He had also been an advisor to the World Bank and the Commonwealth Secretariat on Small States. 

Among his other career accomplishments include the authoring and co-authoring many journal articles, book chapters and technical reports about development and the environment and sitting on a number of governmental and inter-governmental commissions of enquiry. He also served as a Senior Associate of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery for many years  

Coordinator of the ISD, Dr David Smith, expressed his personal tribute noting that, “Professor Persaud brought to The UWI a new approach and new thinking to environment and development and was able to generate a great deal of interest in sustainable development research and formed strong linkages with NGOs and civil society practitioners in the field. The Institute for Sustainable Development values highly the foundation he laid.”



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 over 50,000 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. Visit