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The UWI joins global community in condolences on the passing of Sir Sidney Poitier

For Release Upon Receipt - January 10, 2022


The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica W.I. Monday, January 10, 2022—The University of the West Indies (The UWI) joins the global community in mourning the passing of Hollywood’s revered star, Sir Sidney Poitier, who passed away on January 7, 2022.

The pioneer Bahamian American actor and film director, Sir Sidney Poitier, was the recipient of the University’s Legacy Award, bestowed in 2001 at the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) annual gala. Sir Sidney was among a group of Caribbean luminaries who were saluted at the University’s foremost fundraising initiative.

The 2001 statement on his award read, “The University of the West Indies is honoured to salute the career and achievements of this cultural icon. His legendary performances and outspoken support of civil rights have left an indelible mark on the Caribbean and the world. As one of the most visible black role models, Poitier carried the hopes and inspiration of an entire people. His films never shied away from addressing sensitive issues of race.”

In 2017, while delivering the Boyer Family Lecture hosted by the SUNY Empire State College, current UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, recognised Sir Sidney among notable Americans with Caribbean heritage that young people should emulate.

Commenting on the passing of the icon and his achievement of major Hollywood stardom in successful mainstream films that depicted black men in a positive, non-stereotypical light, Vice-Chancellor Beckles said, “The world has lost a remarkable man, one that has not only left an enduring mark on society but will forever have a profound influence on generations to come”.

The UWI and its extended American Foundation community offer deepest condolences to the family of Sir Sidney.



About The UWI

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region.

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global 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 its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

Ranked among the top universities in the world, by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. In 2020, it earned ‘Triple 1st’ rankings—topping the Caribbean; and in the top in the tables for Latin America and the Caribbean, and global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the top universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

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