News Releases

Dr Suzanne Burke New Public Orator for The UWI St. Augustine

For Release Upon Receipt - August 2, 2023

St. Augustine



Dr Suzanne Burke – Public Orator and Head of Department, Literary, Cultural and Communication Studies, in the Faculty of Humanities and Education at The UWI St Augustine Campus

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. August 02, 2023 – The University of the West Indies (The UWI), St. Augustine Campus. Dr. Suzanne Burke, Head of Department, Literary, Cultural and Communication Studies, in the Faculty of Humanities and Education, has been appointed the new public orator for the St. Augustine Campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI). She is Coordinator of the Cultural Studies programme. 

Her appointment, effective August 1, is for three years. She succeeds Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education, who served as public orator from 2020-2023. 

Historically, the duties of the orator are "to write addresses for presentation to the sovereign and formal letters for presentation to other universities and institutions and to "present to the chancellor and university persons on whom the titles of degrees are conferred honoris causa." The post acts as the voice of the university during public occasions.

UWI’s public orator writes the citations for the honorary graduands and presents them to University Chancellor Robert Bermudez at the St Augustine graduation ceremonies. Each campus of UWI has its own public orator who prepares and delivers citations at university functions such as graduation and awards ceremonies and convocations. 

Dr Burke was formally trained in the areas of Psychology (B.A. - York University, Canada), Development Studies (M.A.: Magna Cum Laude - ISS, The Netherlands), Sociology (PhD - Essex University, UK) and Education Practice (Essex University, UK). Her main academic concern is exploring the domain of culture as a vehicle for decolonizing the power structures that hinder socio-economic transformation within the Caribbean. In September 2022, she received the UWI/Guardian Life (Trinidad and Tobago) Premium Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

Her research focuses on Caribbean industries in culture, creative entrepreneurship, cultural policy formulation and cultural practice-based pedagogies. She has worked extensively with a wide cross section of public sector enterprises, civil society organisations and private agencies in the areas of strategic planning, human resource development, policy analysis, cultural sector mapping and planning, and audience research within and outside of the Caribbean.

This research was the focus of her award of a Commonwealth Fellowship that was completed at City University, London in 2016. From 2017 to 2018, she was part of the Technical Working Group that assisted in the formulation of the only cabinet approved National Cultural Policy of Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Burke currently serves on the national team for the elaboration of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.


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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