News Releases

The UWI recognised for world class climate change research and activism

For Release Upon Receipt - November 29, 2019


It was just two months ago that Professor Michael Taylor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), along with an internationally respected group of scientists, urgently called on world leaders to accelerate efforts to tackle climate change in a co-authored article published in Science.  Now, a video on The UWI’s climate action work is featured in a multi-university collaborative project with the International Association of Universities (IAU) and the BBC Global News.  

The video forms part of a series called ‘Aiming Higher’ which showcases how universities are instrumental to the development of sustainable and democratic societies; shaping minds, promoting diversity, ethical leadership and social responsibility. In light of increasing global challenges, higher education institutions, like The UWI, play a key role in leading the societal transformations that will seek to establish an equilibrium between people, planet, prosperity and peace. Thirty-four IAU member institutions from all five continents took part in the ambitious project.

The urgency of responding to climate change has long been a priority for The UWI.  Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles has noted that ‘The UWI’s scientists recognised decades ago that climate change, rising sea levels and ocean temperatures, were an existential threat to the Caribbean, small island states, and the world’

The UWI’s film, ‘Tackling the Effects of Climate Change’, focussed on Sargassum seaweed which has caused serious problems for Caribbean countries. Unprecedented amounts of seaweed washing up on the shores in recent years have significantly impacted local hospitality and fisheries sectors. The film shows how The UWI has been taking action, helping coastal communities to promote sustainable management.

The UWI continues to receive global recognition for its world class research and activism with regard to tackling the effects of climate change and strengthening the Caribbean’s resilience in the face of increasing climate impact. In January, the IAU selected The UWI to be its global leader in the mobilisation of higher education and research for the achievement of a climate-smart and resilient world.

Aiming Higher premiered at the IAU's 2019 International Conference earlier this month in Puebla, Mexico. The entire series can be viewed on




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 five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda 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. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018 and 2019.The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit


About The IAU

The International Association of Universities is a membership-led non-governmental organization working in the field of higher education. It comprises more than 650 higher education institutions and organizations in some 130 countries. IAU is an official partner of UNESCO. The IAU secretariat is based in Paris and is located at the headquarters of UNESCO.