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Sir George Alleyne

Sir George Alleyne



Our sixtieth birthday is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for celebration. I hope it is a time for all Caribbean people to congratulate The University of the West Indies on its academic contribution in the Caribbean to the Caribbean and its people. Sixty years ago I doubt that even the most visionary of our founding fathers would have dreamt that the10 female and 23 male students from across the region entering the fledgling University in the Faculty of Medicine on October 3, 1948, would be the foundation members of what is now the largest provider of higher education in the English-speaking Caribbean. I doubt they imagined our growth from a small College teaching a small range of undergraduate programmes to an internationally competitive, contemporary university with some 40,000 students, deeply rooted in the Caribbean and committed to enhancing every aspect of Caribbean development. Our graduates are to be found in every walk of Caribbean life. Some pursue the disciplines and employ the academic knowledge they gained in the University’s seven main faculties, but others will be found displaying entrepreneurial skills that are fundamental to the growth of any nation. The University speaks with equal pride of the Heads of State who are its graduates and the myriad of persons making their contribution in other spheres of public and private life.

The 60 academics who we are recognising in this publication are indeed iconic in terms of the broad range of their academic pursuits and the impact they have had and are having in our region and abroad. It is never easy to select a few from the many, but we hope that in the selection of the few we give earnest of the quality of the many.

Today, The University of the West Indies has campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and a recently established Open Campus which covers the Caribbean as a whole and principally the other 12 contributing countries.

This University has established itself as a proactive centre of higher education that prides itself on the quality of its research, its teaching and its regional service in a wide range of areas. As a regional university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world, the challenges that we face are no different from the global challenges now demanding creative responses from the region’s business, political and community leaders, as the Caribbean region seeks to navigate and to negotiate an increasingly complex globalised world. The stature of our legacy will be determined by our ability to become the first port of call for regional leadership seeking advice and technical expertise for policy development, strategic planning and programme implementation in the never-ending processes of navigation and negotiation.

The regional governments have been magnificent in their support of the University in these past 60 years and we hope that support will continue to be earned, but the complexity of the world in which we now operate makes it mandatory for us to diversify our sources of funding. For this reason, all proceeds from our UWI 60th Anniversary Celebration initiatives will be channelled into a special UWI Regional Endowment Fund, which will facilitate infrastructural projects across the region.

It is with these objectives and ideals in mind that I commend the effort of these 60 academics as examples of excellence in teaching, service and research.