News Releases

UWI Principal at Asante King's Open Lecture: “It is time for us to reconnect with Africa”

For Release Upon Receipt - August 8, 2023

St. Augustine

His Royal Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II of Ghana delivers his distinguished lecture at The UWI St. Augustine Campus 

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. August 8, 2023 – The St. Augustine Campus community on Thursday (3rd August 2023) pulled out all the stops to ensure that His Royal Majesty (HRM) Otumfuo Osei Tutu II of Ghana received a rousing welcome to The University of the West Indies (The UWI).  As part of his state visit to Trinidad and Tobago, the 16th Asantehene of the Asante Kingdom delivered a Distinguished Open Lecture to a packed audience which included Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the Hon. Dr Keith Rowley. UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles delivered remarks virtually, from the university’s regional headquarters in Jamaica. The lecture was held in the Daaga Auditorium on the Campus, named in honour of an African ex-slave soldier, a revolutionary leader who led a mutiny in June 1837 against the British Army.

In her welcome, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The UWI St. Augustine Campus, Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine emphasised the need for a collective thrust by the diaspora to work with Africa and others to develop meaningful and more equitable partnerships to address the common challenges that we face. "It is time for us to reconnect with Africa, not just in our intellectual engagement but as a nation and people. Africa is an important continent, and the remarkable achievements of countries like Ghana, challenging persistent poverty and flourishing, stand as a testimony to the brilliant discipline and innovative spirit of the African people," said Professor Antoine. She explained the importance of HRM’s visit as a tangible step in strengthening ties with Mother Africa,There has been much talk, but despite the bonds and history that we share (some might say because of it and all the baggage it involves), that meaningful engagement has not been forthcoming. We still await the direct flight from the Caribbean to Africa, a shortish journey, by the way, which one intrepid sailor from Antigua was able to make on his own on a sailboat.”

undefinedPro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal Professor, The UWI St. Augustine Campus Rose-Marie Belle Antoine is presented with a gift from HRM Otumfuo Osei Tutu II of Ghana at The UWI St. Augustine Campus

In his enlightening lecture, HRM, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, addressed the pressing issue of silence surrounding the Pre and Post Emancipation physical, psychological, and social effects on the victims of colonialism. “Millions now stand tall over the ashes of the martyrs who fell, a testimony to the undying spirit that says, ‘If you kill a thousand, a thousand will storm back’. Just as our spirits cannot be broken, so we cannot be divided or distrained back from our heritage - His Royal Majesty, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene.

HRM Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the 16th Asantehene is also Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has sought to revitalize the Asante nation and to use its resources to promote education, health services, industry, and international partnerships and cooperation. Vice- Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles recalled how in recognition of his relentless efforts in support of the development and survival of African Universities, The UWI awarded HRM an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2008. "Our University is in the throes of celebrating 75 years of service, 75 years of dedication to the people of the Caribbean and the world beyond and your presence in our 75th year, will be of great enrichment to our celebrations and also to our reflections. My colleagues, I know, are overjoyed by your presence at the St. Augustine campus, as are the students excited to hear from you and to meet with you.  I know, Otumfuo, that you are very fond of the Caribbean and that being here is a great joy for you. Please enjoy the pleasures we offer on your visit to the Republic and consider them precious because this University and The Caribbean are indeed your home," said Sir Hilary.

 Dean of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture, The UWI St. Augustine Campus Professor Mark Wuddivira introduces HRM Otumfuo Osei Tutu II of Ghana 

Specially invited guests at the event also included Dean of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture at The UWI St. Augustine Campus, Professor Mark Wuddivira who officially introduced HRM Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. Ms. Aishwarya Maharaj, newly installed Guild president of The UWI St. Augustine Campus Guild of Students delivered the vote of thanks. The audience was also treated to cultural performances by Ghanaian dancers and drummers as well as local renditions on the steelpan by Mr. Keon Baptiste, a student of The UWI St. Augustine Campus.

Ms. Aishwarya Maharaj, newly installed Guild president of The UWI St. Augustine Campus Guild of Students delivers the vote of thanks at the Distinguished Open Lecture featuring HRM Otumfuo Osei Tutu II of Ghana at The UWI St. Augustine Campus

The UWI extends its deepest appreciation to His Royal Majesty, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, for gracing the campus with his wisdom and presence. The recording of the lecture can be viewed on The UWI St. Augustine Campus YouTube channel at:


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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