UWI, Brock University launch Institute for Canada-Caribbean Affairs

UWI, Brock University launch Institute for Canada-Caribbean Affairs

Sunday, February 23, 2020

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The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is describing as historic, last Monday's launch of a joint institute with Brock University to promote, transform, and upgrade 200 years of solid relations that have facilitated Caribbean development.

The launch ceremony was followed by a two-day symposium on Canada-Caribbean relations.

“The economic history of the region shows that Canada has been Caricom's leading and most reliable economic development partner in the post-independence era,” joint founder of the institute, vice chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles stated in his opening remarks.

“As a result, the time has come to re-engineer and upgrade this very special mutual development bridge — in light of the new challenges facing both regions such as the corrosiveness of climate change, instability in the global banking and finance sector, the cultural underpinnings surrounding the movement of labour, diversification of vital tourism products, and new opportunities for participation in cultural industries,” he added.

Joint architect of the project, president and vice chancellor of Brock University, Professor Gervan Fearon, a distinguished economist and expert in the economic development theories of Sir Arthur Lewis, spoke of the importance of showing research respect for the historic excellence illustrated in Canada-Caribbean bonding, and how this can stimulate new projects in the future.

Professor Fearon insisted that the integrity that shapes the culture of collaboration which binds these regions should not be taken for granted. Speaking also as a Diaspora son of Jamaica, he stated that his professional commitment to the institute transcends the specific world of the universities and resides in the broader theme of economic development in the Caribbean, and in ensuring that the 'gold star' partnering continues to mutual benefit in the next two decades.

High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica Laurie Peters, who the partners describe as a quiet but effective supporter of the project from the beginning, was in attendance, along with officials from both universities. Peters said she perceived that the future world to be found in Canada's technological transformation could have significant implications for the Caribbean in areas like digital transformation, science and technology applications such as robotics, in productio, artificial intelligence and in planning. These areas, she said, should inform the work of the institute.

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