News Releases

Rotary Club of St. Andrew names Sir Hilary Beckles a Paul Harris Fellow

For Release Upon Receipt - August 28, 2020


Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, has been named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation, through the Rotary Club of St. Andrew, in recognition of his “extensive work as a thought leader in the field of social justice and minority empowerment."  Named after the founder of Rotary, Paul Harris, a Chicago lawyer who started Rotary International with three business associates in 1905, the presentation of the Paul Harris Fellow recognition is the Rotary Foundation’s way of expressing its appreciation for a substantial contribution to its humanitarian and educational programmes.   Marie Powell, Assistant Governor, Rotary, Jamaica Southeast said “Rotarians often designate a Paul Harris Fellow as a tribute to a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objective of the Rotary Foundation.”   Sir Hilary said that he had long identified with the tenets of the Rotary movement and was “honoured to be named a Paul Harris Fellow.” He praised Mr. Harris as “an extraordinary leader whose vision has resulted in the creation of fellowship across a global network of change makers who are investing personal time, money and expertise into priorities like eradicating disease, promoting peace, reducing poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and promoting sustainable development.”   Sir Hilary is highly regarded as an economic historian, educator and social activist. Under his leadership, The UWI has achieved three top spots in rankings by Times Higher Education (THE), the globally recognized and world’s most prestigious ranking agency for higher education. Currently, The UWI  is placed among the top 1% of universities in the  Latin America and Caribbean region; top 1% of Golden Agers (universities between 50-80 years of age) and stands as the only Caribbean university to be ranked by THE.

As Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Reparations Commission, Sir Hilary is leading the region’s call for reparatory justice for the 300 years of slavery in the Caribbean, actively pursuing compensation for the native genocide and African enslavement from the former colonizing nations of Europe.   Sir Hilary joins a list of distinguished Paul Harris Fellows including former US President Jimmy Carter, former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, US Astronaut James Vogel, former United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar and polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk.




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, Africa and Europe 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; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ); The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow.

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, 2019 and 2020. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit


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