Glasgow-UWI reparation project begins

Career & Education

Glasgow-UWI reparation project begins

Sunday, January 12, 2020

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The historic Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research, a joint initiative of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the University of Glasgow, has begun its work, UWI announced on Wednesday.

It is the first institution within British university history dedicated to the slavery reparation policy framework.

The centre's board, which comprises six senior faculty from each university, is co-chaired by distinguished Jamaican scientist Professor Simon Anderson and Professor William Cushley from Glasgow University. The UWI directors are Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, pro vice chancellors Stefan Gift and Clive Landis, Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah, and Professor Verene Shepherd.

UWI reported that the board had its inaugural meeting at the Cave Hill campus in Barbados on December 18, 2019 to discuss the roll out of the centre's research and project development agenda which is aimed at confronting and eradicating the debilitating legacies of slavery and colonisation in the Caribbean.

It was agreed, the university said, that the centre's activities in its first 10-year phase will focus on three pillars:

1. The public health crisis in the Caribbean, particularly the chronic disease pandemic, with special focus on identifying research-based solutions to reduce the burden of Type 2 diabetes and its sequelae complications, such as diabetic foot amputation. The region has the world's highest per capita amputation rates. “There will also be a focus on other chronic diseases including mental illnesses, heart disease, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease and cancers affecting in particular women and children. It will support work that carefully considers health disparities within the broader social context including their social and genetic determinants,” said UWI in a statement released to the media.

2. The search for post-plantation economy development policies that are innovative and progressive in the struggle for economic growth in the global economy. “It was noted that economic practices and policy in the region are conservative and technologically transformative, effectively sustaining persistent poverty and growing inequality and designed to meet the specific needs of IMF conditionalities rather than focusing on economic diversification, racial inclusion, [and] gender empowerment. Devising a new set of economic tools and thought specifically for the post-colonial Caribbean is, therefore, a top priority,” the university said.

3. Recognising that slavery and colonialism drove deep wedges between Africa and its Caribbean family, strategies for project implementation to tackle the day-to-day cultural divide between Africa and the Caribbean are to be funded. Innovative projects to practically integrate and socially domesticate this bond are to be prioritised.

Said UWI: “In addition to project development and applied research, there is also funding available for relevant reparations-oriented teaching programmes. The seed budget of 20 million to be used over two decades to develop the work was discussed alongside other fund-raising strategies. Research proposals were also established, and joint subcommittees will begin planning for projects.”

Professor Anderson expressed his delight as co-chair to begin this historic journey, bringing together the two university worlds within a reparatory justice framework. Professor Cushley underscored the enormous significance that this initiative has for the world today, particularly universities that consider themselves ethical in the pursuit of excellence.
The next meeting is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2020.

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