News Releases

The UWI partners with UN and DEF on SDG Youth Awareness Programme

For Release Upon Receipt - August 28, 2020


The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has partnered with the United Nations (UN) and Decibel Arts and Entertainment Festival (DEF) on a youth programme aimed at increasing awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The partners developed a three-day virtual programme which took place on August 15 and 22 and concludes on August 29, for adolescents in Trinidad and Tobago between the ages of 14 and 19.  

This programme forms part of the UN’s 75th anniversary global dialogues on SDGs. It aims to introduce the participants to their roles in achieving SDGs and create a forum for helping them generate and present ideas for practical projects to improve their communities. 

The Youth Awareness Programme commenced on August 15 with presentations on ‘Localising Sustainable Development Goals’. Students from The UWI, St Augustine campus and other educational institutions across the country participated and developed their own SDG projects in small groups via a virtual platform. At the second session on August 22, the students presented their projects to a panel of representatives from the UN in Trinidad and Tobago, DEF and The UWI. A virtual awards ceremony is scheduled for the final day of the programme on August 29. The most innovative project proposal will be announced and funded by the UN for implementation.   

Commenting on The UWI’s participation on the initiative, Dr Stacy Richards-Kennedy who heads the University’s regional Office of Global Partnerships and Sustainable Futures stated, “Following our launch of the UWI SDG Youth Advocacy Campaign in 2017 and our ongoing SDG initiatives, we remain energised as a leading partner on programmes such as these.  It is through continuous youth engagement and expansion of networks of youth advocates that we will be able to increase awareness and strengthen capacity to implement sustainable development projects. As a regional university, we remain committed to supporting the Caribbean in working towards the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.” 

The UWI’s involvement in this SDG Youth Awareness Programme is just one example of the University’s support for youth engagement on the global 2030 sustainable development agenda. In 2017, The UWI spearheaded a regional SDG Youth Advocacy Campaign funded by UNDP, co-organised the Caribbean Action 2030 Regional Conference and Youth Forum at its Mona Campus in Jamaica, launched a digital photo competition “Through the lens of Caribbean Youth” and produced a series of short films entitled “Youth Action on the SDGs” in collaboration with Sustain T&T. In July this year, The UWI joined forces with UNICEF and the Ashley Lashley Foundation in Barbados to host the Global Youth Network Summit on Climate Change and Health, which included a Declaration signed by Caribbean students in support of climate action.  Several SDG youth engagement activities have also been led by The UWI Youth Development Programme and UWI-STAT Ambassadors. In 2020, The UWI also ranked among the top 200 universities in the Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings for its research, outreach and stewardship of the SDGs. 

The regional University’s partnership with Decibel Arts and Entertainment Festival was born earlier this year, based on DEF’s mission to work with youth and preparing them for the future. DEF has also stepped up to support UWI students across the region who have been functioning in difficult social circumstances because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this most recent collaboration, The UWI and DEF have realised another shared objective of empowering young people to make tangible contributions to help the region achieve the SDGs. 

For more on the Youth Awareness Programme visit   




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.)