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University of Johannesburg honours Sir Hilary

For Release Upon Receipt - May 22, 2023


Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and Professor Letlhokwa George Mpedi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Johannesburg

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and Professor Letlhokwa George Mpedi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Johannesburg

The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica W.I. Wednesday, May 18, 2023 — The University of Johannesburg conferred on Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI), the degree of Honorary Doctor of Letters, at its Humanities convocation ceremony on May 9, 2023. 

It was an emotionally moving ceremony of celebration as university students from Soweto and elsewhere, and academics, thanked Sir Hilary for his lifelong work in the advancement of global justice and the bending of scholarship in the service of democracy. Professor Beckles was welcomed home to Africa as a son who continues to fight bravely for his people on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, the university orator noted, “has emerged an iconic leader of the global reparations movement, a distinguished Vice-Chancellor in the arena of strategic planning for higher education, a United Nations official for sustainable development advocacy and a world-renowned historian with honorary awards from many other universities. The combination of academic excellence, effective advocacy, and insightful administration illustrates Sir Hilary’s intellectual versatility, passion and commitment for justice, and visionary leadership.” 

Sir Hilary in response thanked the university for its kindness and generosity, and noted how proud he feels to be a graduate of such an extraordinary institution. He informed the gathering that he accepts the honour on behalf of The UWI that has long admired the University of Johannesburg for its intellectual leadership and pioneering research for African development. 


About The University of the West Indies

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 for the past 75 years.

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 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.

The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean in the World University Rankings, it is also in the top 25 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the leading 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.

2023 marks The UWI’s 75th anniversary. The Diamond jubilee milestone themed “UWI at 75. Rooted. Ready. Rising.” features initiatives purposely designed and aligned to reflect on the past, confront the present, and articulate plans for the future of the regional University. 

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