June 2009

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Values In Success

I wish to thank all who attended our third Biennial Conference on Business, Banking and Finance (BBF) that was held in May at the Learning Resource Centre, UWI. I especially want to thank the Honourable Prime Minister Patrick Manning for delivering the feature address and sharing his vision for further diversifying our economy and establishing an international financial centre here in Trinidad and Tobago. This presents an important opportunity for us at the St Augustine Campus to continue developing our human capital and preparing our human resource base to adequately support this national vision.

I would like to draw on my opening remarks at the BBF Conference, for too often self-serving business interests are pursued to the detriment of the societal good. The time has come to re-position ethics and values at the centre of economic, social, political and cultural development. While many attribute the global financial crisis to the lack of appropriate and effective regulatory frameworks in developed countries, others have cited not market or institutional failure but rather, the ethical failings of high powered bankers and business persons.

I am pleased that UWI’s St Augustine Campus continues to take the lead in marshalling a collective response to the financial crisis for our region. We brought together scholars, businessmen, government officials and other distinguished panelists, and provided a forum for constructive discussion and debate on feasible solutions.

In re-shaping the financial landscape as we move forward, we must remain committed to our core values—one of which is “to foster ethical values, attitudes and approaches”—and to keeping these values at the centre of our teaching, learning and doing. Our mandate to promote excellence in scholarship and learning must be executed in a way that inculcates values and a sense of purpose in our graduates. For a scholar is not merely someone with intellect; a true scholar is someone with intellect and a critical set of values, including integrity and compassion. Our graduates must, therefore, see it as their duty and responsibility to society to use their knowledge and skills to uplift, enhance and leave a valuable legacy.

Organisations in the public and private sectors should promote an ethical management culture, with appropriate leadership, internal controls, communications and business practices that sustain a viable business model in tandem with ethical business practices. In so doing, we will lead by example and foster an environment in which tomorrow’s decision-makers are, themselves, authentic leaders, guided by an inner ‘true north’ aligned with a set of core values.

In his inaugural speech, US President Barack Obama reminded us that while the challenges we face and the instruments with which we meet them may be new, the values upon which our success depends—honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism—these things are old and what is needed is a return to these truths.

At the St Augustine Campus, we must continue to work diligently at enhancing our programmes and operations, beginning with our curriculum review, so that ethics and values are not only placed at the centre of teaching and learning but also embedded in the hearts and minds of our staff and students and alumni.

Clement K. Sankat
Pro Vice Chancellor & Principal


Campus Principal : Professor Clement Sankat
Director of Marketing and Comunications : Mrs. Dawn Marie De Four-Gill
Editor : Ms. Vaneisa Baksh

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