News Releases

UWI holds pre-CHOGM Democracy Forum

For Release Upon Receipt - November 20, 2009

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies (UWI), Faculty of Social Sciences is hosting a Democracy Forum titled “Media, Development and Democracy—Can one do without the other?” on Tuesday 24th November, 2009 at 3.00 p.m. in the Social Sciences’ Faculty Lounge.

Two speakers will be featured in the forum. The first, Manoah Esipisu, Deputy Spokesperson, Commonwealth Secretariat, will deliver a presentation titled, "Building a common ground in the Commonwealth". The second feature speaker is Dr Purna Sen, Head of Human Rights, Commonwealth Secretariat, who will speak on ‘Human rights in times of change’.

Esipisu, a Kenyan national, is also Deputy Director of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Communications and Public Affairs Division. He has more than 15 years’ of reporting and editing skills honed at The Standard newspaper in Kenya and at the Reuter news agency in Kenya and South Africa. He specialises in African politics and economy with a particular interest in financial markets, trade and investment, and multilateral organisations. He taught financial journalism at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Journalism & Media Studies Programme. Manoah is co-author of Eyes of Democracy: Media in Elections, a Commonwealth Secretariat publication that focuses on how the media can improve their coverage of elections.

 “The media serves as a watchdog in the conduct of governments, politicians and leaders in our societies to ensure accountability and integrity in the execution of their duties for the public good. While holding others accountable, the media should also be able to stand up to scrutiny in their conduct – of impartiality, fairness, veracity – values that make journalism an honourable profession which serves in the public interest, and not merely an aspiration to be attained,” he says.

Dr Sen will share her views on an issue close to her heart. She is an international expert and advocate of human rights, gender and social justice. She has more than 20 years’ experience in human rights, serving previously as Director of the Asia-Pacific programme of Amnesty International. She has negotiated at senior levels on human rights concerns with government representatives, NGOs and armed groups in the Asia-Pacific. Dr Sen has lectured at the London School of Economics. She has also undertaken consultancy work providing advice, training, research, policy and practice development for NGOs, educational institutions, governments and international development agencies.

To find out more, please contact Dr Hamid Ghany, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, at or (868) 662-2002 Ext. 2027 or 3232.


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About Manoah Esipisu

Manoah Esipisu has covered civil wars in Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda, Angola, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique, and reported from across the African continent. He has interviewed African leaders like Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Yoweri Museveni, Jerry Rawlings, General Olusegun Obasanjo, Joseph Kabila and Jakaya Kikwete. The most memorable events in Manoah’s illustrious career in journalism was his coverage of the fall of Ethiopian strongman Mengistu Haile Mariam and Somalian dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991; and the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994. Esipisu holds an MA in Media Studies from Witswatersrand University, South Africa, and a BA in Political Science & Literature and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.



About Purna Sen

Dr Sen has been a consultant for UNESCO’s International Institute of Educational Planning on Gender, Development and Education in Afghanistan; Centre for Gender Equality in Norway; British Council and Oxfam. Her work to date has taken her to India, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, and more recently Dr Sen has supported and promoted human rights developments, including through human rights training workshops for police officers in the Maldives, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Solomon Islands, Seychelles, Jamaica. Her publications include:

 ·        Crimes of Honour’: Value and Meaning, in Honour: Crimes, Paradigms and Violence against Women, Hossain S and Welchman L (eds), Zed, 2006

·        Successes and Challenges: the global movement against violence against women, in Glasius M and Anhieir (eds) Global Civil Society Yearbook 2003, OUP

·        Sexual Violence with Jewkes R and Garcia-Moreno C, in Global Report on Violence and Health, World Health Organisation, October 2002



About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.