News Releases

20 million Caribbean Reparations Agreement

For Release Upon Receipt - August 2, 2019

UWI


The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Glasgow have signed the first ever agreement for slavery reparations since British Emancipation in 1838. The £20 million agreement was signed at the Regional Headquarters of The UWI in Kingston, Jamaica on July 31, 2019 by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and Dr David Duncan, University of Glasgow’s Chief Operating Officer, representing Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli.

The terms of the agreement call for the University of Glasgow to provide £20 million to fund research to promote development initiatives to be jointly undertaken with The UWI over the next two decades. The sum of £20 million was the amount paid to slave owners as reparations by the British government when it abolished slavery in 1834.

The agreement represents the first occasion on which a slavery-enriched British or European institution has apologized for its part in slavery and committed funds to facilitate a reparations programme. In this instance, the two universities have adopted a regional development approach to reparations.

The funds will facilitate the operations of a jointly-owned and managed institution to be called the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research. The Centre will target and promote solutions to Caribbean development problems in areas such as medicine and public health, economics and economic growth, cultural identity and cultural industries, and other 21st century orientations in Caribbean transformation.

The seminal agreement, the first of its kind in the Western World, brings to closure negotiations between the two institutions that began when the University of Glasgow published a report in 2018 revealing that between the 1780s and 1880s it received millions of pounds in grants and endowments from Scottish and English slave owners that served to enrich and physically expand the near 600-year-old university.

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, who brokered the historic agreement, complemented Dr Duncan for his astute leadership of the Glasgow Reparatory Justice Task Force, and Glasgow’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli for his visionary leadership.

Commenting on the globally anticipated moment in the long reparations struggle, Sir Hilary noted that the University of Glasgow acknowledged that a university cannot be excellent if it is not ethical, and that this agreement places the university on a high moral ground.

The £20 million will be invested in policy research in science, technology, society and economy, and education and advocacy that seek to repair the debilitating consequences of slavery and colonization that continue to hold back Caribbean development. The Centre will therefore focus on joint efforts to clean up the colonial mess that continues to subvert efforts at Caribbean social growth and economic growth. It will be formally established on the two campuses in September 2019.

 

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Notes to the Editor

Photos: See link to a selection of photos here https://flic.kr/s/aHsmFG4pDC

See link to the University of Glasgow’s comprehensive report into the institution’s historical links with slavery titled Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow report, co-authored by Professor Simon Newman and Dr Stephen Mullen.                                                                                                 

 

About the University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world, delivering world-class, world-changing research and education with impact. A member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK Universities, Glasgow is ranked 67th in the world (QS World University Rankings 2020) and joint 93rd in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019. We welcome students from more than 140 countries worldwide and have around 28,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. 

 

About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and four campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Studies Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport.

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. Times Higher Education ranked The UWI among the top 1,258 universities in world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in its Latin America Rankings for 2018. The UWI was the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit www.uwi.edu.

 

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

 

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