News Releases

University Director of UWI’s IGDS to speak at London Forum

For Release Upon Receipt - December 12, 2016


The University of the West Indies, Regional Headquarters. 12 December 2016 – University Director of The University of the West Indies’ (The UWI) Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), Professor Verene Shepherd will address more than 500 parliamentarians at the inaugural Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s (CPA) Regional Hot Topics (RHT). The forum is carded for December 15 at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in London from 2-5 pm (UK time).   

The event hosted by the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region (CAAR) is one of nine regional fora across the CPA region groupings; and will take place during the annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference of the CPA in London. Intended to provide a space for discourse between CPA membership and the wider community on topics of specific regional relevance, the forum will focus on ‘Seeking to Increase Women’s Political Participation’

Professor Shepherd is expected to present on “Critical Mass vs, Critical Actors: Increasing Parliamentary Presence, Increasing Social Justice" and will also sit on the panel at the CAAR’s forum. Recognising her significant expertise and contribution to the region in the area of gender and development, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Montserrat, The Honourable Shirley M. Osborne, in her capacity as Vice-Chair of the CPA and Regional Chair of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) tagged Professor Shepherd’s participation in the forum as ‘invaluable’.  

Professor Shepherd has effectively integrated the disciplines of history and gender studies into her research (individual and institutional), publication, teaching and public service, championing gender mainstreaming and history education inside and outside of the University. She has led The UWI’s IGDS research teams on a variety of issues central to gender and development and as a scholar-activist uses a diverse range of platforms, including radio, to popularise history and gender studies. Recipient of the 2016 UWI Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for Public Service, Professor Shepherd noted “It is an honour for me to be given this opportunity to address parliamentarians who, as policy-makers, have the potential to change the lives of our populations, if they have the political will. There is a critical need for us to strategise to increase women’s political participation, which at the moment is woefully unacceptable. The question I wish to pose to our women parliamentarians though is are we just seeking to have critical mass or should we be striving to ensure critical actors? How engaged are they, for example, in the hottest topic in the Commonwealth right now – reparatory justice for historic wrongs?” 



About the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is a leading Parliamentary strengthening institution whose membership includes national, provincial and state legislatures from 53 Commonwealth countries and includes the eight member territories of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). The CPA’s membership covers nine geographical regions across the globe, includes over 180 branches and is made up of over 17,000 Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff. The Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region comprises the member territories of the ECCB (ECCB) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and most members of CARICOM. 

The aim of the CPA is to advance parliamentary democracy by enhancing knowledge and understanding of democratic governance and by building an informed parliamentary community that is able to deepen the Commonwealth’s democratic commitment and further co-operation among its 180 member Parliaments and Legislatures. Key objectives are achieved by leveraging the expertise that exists within the CPA’s vast network and those of its development partners. 

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.