The UWI salutes CDB on its golden anniversary

The UWI VC, Prof. Sir Hilary Beckles and CDB Pres., Dr. William Warren Smith, at the signing ceremony for the historic MOU between the two institutions in October 2018. (Photo via The UWI)
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(The University of the West Indies Press Release) The University of the West Indies (The UWI) congratulates the Caribbean Development Bank on its 50th Anniversary. The following statement is issued by the Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.

Fifty years ago, in 1970, as the fledgling nations of the Caribbean sought to shape a post-colonial destiny for themselves, the Caribbean Development Bank was established with its key objectives to “contribute to the harmonious economic growth and development of the member countries in the Caribbean and to promote economic cooperation and integration among them…”

As it delivered on this mandate, the Caribbean Development Bank has enjoyed a tradition of distinguished leaders. In the early years, under the leadership of Caribbean giants Sir Arthur Lewis and William Demas, the institution laid the foundation to encourage member countries to engage in individual and collective strategies to evolve from traditional modes of production into new areas of economic activity. They nurtured the region through times of austerity and economic recovery programmes while expanding the reach and scope of the bank itself. With the dawn of the new millennium, the impact of contemporary globalisation was felt in the region resulting in a resurgence of regionalism, and the Caribbean Development Bank led by Sir Neville Nichols then Compton Bourne, adjusted its modus operandi to better respond to the changing needs of its borrowing member countries. This demonstration of attentiveness to the needs of the region and an appreciation of and openness to change has continued under the fifth President, my friend and colleague, Warren Smith.

It was my honour and pleasure in 2018, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that formalised the longstanding partnership between The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). Together we are stronger and it was important to emphasise our collective commitment and dedication to advancing the well-being of our Caribbean people. Our shared priorities include promoting youth development and community inclusion through sport, improving implementation capacity, developing joint training and educational programmes, and supporting the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in areas such as climate adaptation and mitigation, gender equality, and education and training.

The University of the West Indies salutes our partner the Caribbean Development Bank on the occasion of its golden anniversary! To leadership past and present, their dedicated team of technical specialists and staff, your colleagues at The UWI thank you on behalf of a grateful region and wish you the very best as you continue to deliver on your mandate.

About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and four campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Studies Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport.

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. Times Higher Education ranked The UWI among the top universities in world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in its Latin America Rankings for 2018 and 2019. The UWI was the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit

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