News Releases

ACS marks 25 Years with Joint Symposium at UWI

For Release Upon Receipt - February 20, 2020


The Institute of International Relations (IIR) at The UWI St. Augustine Campus and its Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean (DAOC) recently collaborated with the Trinidad and Tobago-based Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Secretariat to host   a joint symposium, entitled ACS at Twenty-Five: In Retrospect and Prospect. Convened to help commemorate the ACS’ 25th Anniversary, the symposium considered how the ACS has created important opportunities for consultation and coordination among its membership in key focal areas.

Panellists at the forum also highlighted the strides that are being made by the association to steer collective action in the Greater Caribbean in areas of common interest. The forum, which took place on February 13th, brought together dozens of academics, public officials, members of the diplomatic corps based in Trinidad and Tobago, and a cross-section of The UWI St. Augustine Campus student body.

In feature remarks, Secretary General of the ACS, Her Excellency Ambassador Dr. June Soomer, called attention to the significance of the 25th anniversary, shedding light on the wide-ranging prospects and opportunities for ACS-leveraged regional cooperation in the future. In particular, the forum underscored the unique platform that the ACS provides for its sovereign and non-sovereign members, observers, observer organisations and social partners, among others, to collaborate on a range of projects for mutual benefit.

Stemming from the exchange, it was concluded that the ACS can play a pivotal role in the coming years in stepping up regional efforts in the achievement of cooperation in several focal areas. Emphasis was placed on the ACS’ uniting role, particularly in an era of ever-increasing interdependence resulting from a combination of complex geoeconomic and geopolitical developments.

The joint symposium was held in keeping with and in support of the longstanding partnership between the IIR and the ACS, and it is a tangible representation of the Institute’s contribution to the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the ACS.




About the IIR, DAOC and ACS

The Institute of International Relations (IIR) at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is a regional, autonomous academic institution at the St. Augustine Campus, with associate fellows at the Mona and Cave Hill Campuses, and within other organizations. The Institute is dedicated to the conduct of advanced research and postgraduate teaching concerning the international challenges of the contemporary world, with special emphasis upon the Caribbean and Latin American regions. The IIR also offers international policy research and advisory services and consultancies.

The DAOC is a first-of-its-kind, practitioner-focused diplomatic studies training centre, which continues to make a major contribution to the effective and impactful conduct of Caribbean diplomacy. Its realization stems from an exemplary partnership between The UWI St. Augustine Campus and the government of the day of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The DAOC has yielded substantial and complementary benefit to the IIR, which was established in 1966 by agreement between the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the Government of Switzerland. Integral to the DAOC’s mission is its commitment to help close human resources capacity gaps in international affairs and diplomacy in the Caribbean, by providing capacity-building and skills development training in diplomacy to up and coming diplomats and to aspiring diplomats from the Caribbean Region. This diplomatic learning and training facility also strengthens the University’s capacities for research/analysis, knowledge‐sharing, advocacy, and partnerships and dialogue on the relationship between diplomacy and the Caribbean broadly conceived, with the goal of helping to facilitate policy-relevant awareness-raising on international affairs issues of import (and that are topical) to the Region.

The Association of Caribbean States (ACS) is a product of the desire of the 35 Contracting States, Countries and Territories of the Greater Caribbean to enhance cooperation within the region, an initiative aimed at building upon obvious geographic proximity and well-documented historical linkages. As stated in the Convention Establishing the ACS, its primary purpose is to be an organization for “consultation, cooperation and concerted action” for its member countries. Its framework provides a forum for political dialogue that allows Members the opportunity to identify areas of common interest and concern that may be addressed at the regional level, and the solutions for which can be found through cooperation.

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About The UWI

For more than 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI 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 across five campuses: Cave Hill in Barbados; Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda; Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago; and an Open Campus. Times Higher Education has 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 and 2019. The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.

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. For more, visit

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