Career & Education

Portia Simpson Miller to receive honorary degree from The UWI

Sunday, September 24, 2017

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On Saturday, September 30, 2017, The University of the West Indies will hold a special convocation to confer the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) on Portia Simpson Miller, former prime minister of Jamaica.

The ceremony will take place at the Assembly Hall, The UWI, Mona Campus in Jamaica.

The UWI is conferring this LLD in recognition of her outstanding and meritorious contribution to public life and of her phenomenal achievements as a woman from the working-class community who, without the privileges of wealth, colour, class and respected profession, overcame those obstacles and emerged as the first female prime minister of Jamaica.

Commenting on the recommendation for the honorary degree, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said, “Prime Minister Simpson Miller erupted within the long tradition of no-nonsense women who have stood up and led society against the racial and class injustice endemic to our history and still manifested in contemporary Caribbean society. In so doing she reflected and expressed the phenomenal resilience that resides at the core of Caribbean consciousness and is symbolic of the serious sense of social care that is possible in such circumstances. In so doing, she showed the Caribbean poor how to move from “wishbone to backbone” in their politics and culture. She stands tall within our political pantheon as a citizen and sister, woman and humanist. Much respected for her big heart and spontaneously loving spirit, she consistently gave much more than she asked for. The University of the West Indies is honoured to identify with her generosity and humanity and her triumph over unyielding strictures and structures.”

Simpson Miller served as the country's seventh prime minister from 2006 to 2007, and then again from 2012 to 2016.

She emphasised her commitment to regional integration and cooperation during her tenure, and used her considerable political and social skills to harness international and domestic support for the stabilisation and growth of the Jamaican economy.

Among her several awards are: the International Olympic Committee's World Women and Sport Trophy for outstanding dedication to women in Jamaican sports, both as athletes and administrators (2007); the Distinguished Award for Dedication to Urban Renewal and Community Development from the Mayor of the City of Miami (2009); one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential Persons in the World (2012); an inductee into the International Women's Forum Hall of Fame (2014).

Simpson Miller is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, which is an international network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to advance women's issues.

The special convocation event will be streamed live on www.uwitv.org.

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