News Releases

The UWI and Canada’s Brock University launch joint Institute for Canada-Caribbean Affairs

For Release Upon Receipt - February 19, 2020


It was an historic event at the Regional Headquarters of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) on February 17, 2020 when The UWI and Canada’s Brock University finally launched a joint institute to promote, transform, and upgrade two hundred years of solid relations that have facilitated Caribbean development.

There was a celebratory mood at the launch ceremony. Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Her Excellency Laurie Peters, who was a quiet but effective supporter of the project from the beginning, was in attendance, along with officials from both universities.  The launch ceremony was followed by a two-day symposium on Canada-Caribbean relations.

Joint founder of the Institute, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, stated in his opening remarks, “The economic history of the region shows that Canada has been CARICOM’s leading and most reliable economic development partner in the post-independence era.”

“As a result,” he said, “the time has come to reengineer and upgrade this very special mutual development bridge in light of the new challenges facing both regions such as the corrosiveness of climate change, instability in the global banking and finance sector, the cultural underpinnings surrounding the movement of labour, diversification of vital tourism products, and new opportunities for participation in cultural industries.”

Joint architect of the project, President and Vice-Chancellor of Brock University, Professor Gervan Fearon, a distinguished economist and expert in the economic development theories of Sir Arthur Lewis, spoke of the importance of showing research respect for the historic excellence illustrated in Canada-Caribbean bonding, and how this can stimulate new projects in the future.

Professor Fearon insisted that the integrity that shapes the culture of collaboration which binds these regions should not be taken for granted. Speaking also as a diaspora son of Jamaica, he pledged that his professional commitment to the Institute transcends the specific world of the universities and resides in the broader theme of economic development in the Caribbean and in ensuring that the ‘gold star’ partnering continues to mutual benefit in the next two decades.

High Commissioner Peters perceived that the future world to be found in Canada’s technological transformation could have significant implications for the Caribbean in areas like digital transformation, science and technology applications such as robotics in production and artificial intelligence in planning. These areas, she noted, should inform the work of the Institute. 



Notes to Editor


Photo captions:

PHOTO 1: (L-R) H.E. Laurie Peters, Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica; Prof. Gervan Fearon, President and Vice-Chancellor, Brock University; Prof. Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The University of the West Indies (The UWI); Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade and Ambassador Dr. Richard Bernal, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Practice, Global Affairs, The UWI, celebrate the inaugural Canada-Caribbean Research Symposium hosted by the Canada Caribbean Institute (CCI) and organized by The University of the West Indies and Brock University of Canada at The UWI Regional Headquarters in Jamaica on February 17, 2020.

PHOTO 2: Prof. Gervan Fearon, President and Vice-Chancellor, Brock University and Prof. Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) following the launch of the joint Canada Caribbean Institute (CCI) at The UWI Regional Headquarters in Jamaica on February 17, 2020.

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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 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 2020, 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