The UWI, IDB, IDB Invest launch new phase of cooperation

Prof. Sir Hilary Beckles, The UWI VC and Pres. Mauricio Claver-Carone of the IDB display signed copies of an MOU (Photo via The UWI)
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(The University of the West Indies Press Release) As The University of the West Indies (The UWI) enters phase two of its Triple A Strategic Plan (2022-2027) focused on “THE REVENUE REVOLUTION”, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles has reached out to global development partners in an attempt to secure support for the University’s financial sustainability and readiness to lead the post-COVID, economic transformation of the region.

After receiving an audience with the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Mauricio Claver-Carone at the IDB Headquarters on November 22, the Vice-Chancellor extended an invitation to the President to visit The UWI Regional Headquarters on his inaugural visit to Jamaica. During his two-hour visit to the University on December 9, President Claver-Carone described The UWI as a university that he respects, admires and considers, to be one of the best universities in the world. The President also spoke of the need for a significant multi-donor investment in The UWI and intimated that the IDB has ‘the back’ of The UWI, and by extension, the CARICOM region.

The UWI and IDB also seized this opportunity to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, which will support joint research and innovation as well as strategic initiatives linked to digital transformation, climate change and resilience.

Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs at The UWI chaired the MoU signing ceremony. She explained, “The MOU to be signed today will build upon a solid partnership that has continued to grow and strengthen. However, we are acutely aware that the Caribbean is battling a convergence of potentially debilitating forces – COVID 19, climate change, chronic diseases, crime and violence, among others. Without a doubt, if we are to effectively address the urgent and pressing needs of Caribbean societies, our joint initiatives moving forward will need to be big, bold and impactful.

Front row, L-R: Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The UWI; Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs, The UWI; Jessica Bedoya, Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy Officer, IDB; Mauricio Claver-Carone, President, IDB. Back row, L-R: Lorenzo Escondeur, Chief of Operations in Jamaica, IDB; R. Brian Langrin, Executive Director for Caribbean countries, IDB; Andrea McNish. University Bursar and Chief Finance Officer, The UWI and Stefan Richards, Junior Counselor for Jamaica, IDB. (Photo via The UWI)

Commenting on the partnership during Thursday’s ceremony, Vice-Chancellor Beckles shared that he observed the IDB President’s Vision 2025 Plan aligns closely with The UWI’s Triple A Strategic Plan. “The issues that are important to us are important to IDB—the common academic spine, the common activist approach to finding solutions not just academically, but finding practical solutions to some of these big issues, digital transformation, climate change and the impact on our economies, gender, justice and equality.”

Vice-Chancellor Beckles added, “President Claver-Carone speaks also about institutional strengthening and institutional entrepreneurship; how institutions can help themselves, how they can partner with other institutions to help themselves become more sustainable and to make themselves even more fit for purpose…So here we are perfectly matched and perfectly aligned within this context.”

In his remarks at the ceremony, President Claver-Carone stated, “This new phase of the IDB’s cooperation with The University West Indies is a big step forward to strengthen our ties with the Caribbean, which is a top personal and institutional priority for the Inter-American Development Bank.” He also signaled that the institutions will explore opportunities with IDB Invest, which he said if materialised, “can be game-changing for The UWI, helping you to be more financially self-sustaining…imagine the impact it would have for the University and for the governments of the Caribbean that are facing great fiscal pressures at this time.”

The agreement between the two institutions will also foster further cooperation under the umbrella of #BIDAcademy, the IDB’s centralised knowledge hub for providing the public with access to development-related knowledge and learning resources.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private-sector clients throughout the region.

About IDB Invest

IDB Invest, a member of the IDB Group, is a multilateral development bank committed to promoting the economic development of its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean through the private sector. IDB Invest finances sustainable companies and projects to achieve financial results and maximize economic, social, and environmental development in the region. With a portfolio of $13.1 billion in asset management and 385 clients in 25 countries, IDB Invest provides innovative financial solutions and advisory services that meet the needs of its clients in a variety of industries.

About The University of the West Indies

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region.

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five Campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). In the latest World University Rankings 2022, released in September 2021, The UWI moved up an impressive 94 places from last year. In the current global field of some 30,000 universities and elite research institutes, The UWI stands among the top 1.5%.

The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean, it is also in the top 20 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old). The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action. For more, visit www.uwi.edu.

About Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies

An economic historian by profession, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is 8th Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies. He is renowned as a distinguished academic, international thought leader, United Nations committee official, and global public activist in the field of social justice and minority empowerment. Vice-Chancellor Beckles is also the Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission and currently serving as President of Universities Caribbean. His leadership philosophy is focused on applying The UWI’s knowledge to offer new insights, new policy directions, new products and innovative solutions to assist the communities we serve and tackle the big challenges facing this region as an activist public university. At the start of his tenure, he conceptualised the University’s Triple A Strategy which is committed to leveraging the resources and capabilities of the University in the quest for the revitalisation of Caribbean development.

About Mauricio Claver-Carone, President of the Inter-American Development Bank

Mauricio Claver-Carone was elected President of the Inter-American Development Bank on September 12, 2020. He also chairs the Board of Executive Directors of IDB Invest, the private-sector arm of the IDB Group, and the Donors Committee of IDB Lab, the Bank’s incubator for innovative development projects. Under his leadership, the Bank has developed a blueprint for post-pandemic recovery and prioritised efforts to avert another “lost decade” in Latin America and the Caribbean. He spearheaded the creation and implementation of Vision 2025 – Reinvest in the Americas: A Decade of Opportunity, a strategy to jumpstart recovery in the region and accelerate sustainable, inclusive growth. It identifies five key areas for development that will guide the Bank’s efforts: integration and nearshoring; digitalization; support for small businesses; gender equality; and climate change.

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