UWI honours PJ Patterson

Friday, November 15, 2019

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FORMER Prime Minister P J Patterson has been named the first “Statesman in Residence” for The University of the West Indies (The UWI).

The Statesman in Residence is a new honorary title approved by The UWI's Regional Finance and General Purposes Committee at a meeting last week, in line with many elite global universities, and designed for non-academic staff at the university.

“This honorary title is reserved for very distinguished and prominent regional and international retired leaders who are willing to carry out a scope of work within the university's strategic plan, and brings to the task the necessary budget and support system so as to be independent in their functions,” The UWI said in a release yesterday.

It noted that since his official retirement from politics, Patterson has emerged as a prominent figure in The UWI alumni matters and serves as patron of the university's Global Giving Programme — an initiative created four years ago to raise money regionally and globally for financially distressed but deserving students.

“In addition, Mr Patterson's donation of US$100,000 established The PJ Patterson Endowment Fund to provide scholarships for students to spend up to a year at another UWI campus, to re-create the spirit of regional integration,” added The UWI.

Two other items bearing Patterson's name were also approved by The UWI's Regional Finance and General Purposes Committee with unanimous agreement.

“In line with the diplomatic objectives of Caricom (Caribbean Community) to strengthen and promote closer functional relations with the African Union, and the declared intention to create an Africa-Brazil-Caribbean Diaspora Commission to give greater effect to South-South economic development strategies, the university created a Centre for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy. It will serve to advance these strategies.

“The recent visits of President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta of Kenya and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana added to the call for closer strategic ties and cooperation. Respecting the protocol, the university reached out to current Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, who gave his blessings for the Patterson initiatives,” said The UWI.

“The university dedicated the new centre in honour of Mr Patterson, allowing his name to appear on the building as the 'PJ Patterson Centre for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy',” The UWI added.

It noted that Patterson, who serves as trustee of the African Foundation, will direct the research and advocacy of the centre, working in close collaboration with former and current presidents of African states, the African Union that has designated the diaspora the sixth region of Africa, the regional private sector, relevant international organisations, and Caricom.

Patterson, a former president of the People's National Party, is Jamaica's longest-serving prime minister, having held office from 1992 to 2006.


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