Glasgow-UWI Reparations Project begins
The UWI Regional Headquarters Jamaica. Wednesday, January 8, 2020—The historic Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research, a joint initiative of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the University of Glasgow, has begun its work. It is the first institution within British University history, dedicated to the slavery reparations policy framework.
The Centre’s Board of Directors met at The UWI Cave Hill Campus in Barbados on December 18, 2019. Co-chaired by Professor Simon Anderson, distinguished Jamaican scientist who is Director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre at The UWI Cave Hill Campus and the accomplished Professor William Cushley from Glasgow University, the Board also consists of six senior persons from each university including the co-chairs. The UWI directors are Pro Vice-Chancellors Stefan Gift and Clive Landis as well as Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah, Professor Verene Shepherd, and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.
The purpose of the inaugural meeting was to rollout the research and project development agenda for the Centre which is aimed at confronting and eradicating the debilitating legacies of slavery and colonisation in the Caribbean. Professor Sir Hilary Beckles joined Professor Simon Anderson in welcoming board members to Cave Hill, where the Centre will be hosted.
It was agreed that the Centre’s activities in its first ten-year phase will focus on three pillars:
- The public health crisis in the Caribbean, particularly the chronic disease pandemic, with special focus on identifying research-based solutions to reduce the burden of Type 2 Diabetes and its sequelae complications, such as diabetic foot amputation. The region has the world’s highest per capita amputation rates. There will also be a focus on other chronic diseases including mental illnesses, heart disease, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease and cancers affecting in particular women and children. It will support work that carefully considers health disparities within the broader social context including their social and genetic determinants.
- The search for post-plantation economy development policies that are innovative and progressive in the struggle for economic growth in the global economy. It was noted that economic practices and policy in the region are conservative and technologically transformative; effectively sustaining persistent poverty and growing inequality and designed to meet the specific needs of IMF conditionalities rather than focusing on economic diversification, racial inclusion, gender empowerment. Devising a new set of economic tools and thought specifically for the post-colonial Caribbean is, therefore, a top priority.
- Recognising that slavery and colonialism drove deep wedges between Africa and its Caribbean family, strategies for project implementation to tackle the day-to-day cultural divide between Africa and the Caribbean are to be funded. Innovative projects to practically integrate and socially domesticate this bond are to be prioritised.
In addition to project development and applied research, there is also funding available for relevant reparations oriented teaching programmes. The seed budget of £20 million to be used over two decades to develop the work was discussed alongside other fundraising strategies. Research proposals were also established, and joint subcommittees will begin planning for projects.
Professor Anderson expressed his delight as co-Chair to begin this historic journey bringing together the two university worlds within a reparatory justice framework. Professor Cushley underscored the enormous significance that this initiative has for the world today, particularly universities that consider themselves ethical in the pursuit of excellence. Vice-Chancellor Beckles commended the team for their positive and progressive thinking and actions.
The next meeting is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2020.
Note to the Editor
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 five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda 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. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018 and 2019. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. For more, visit www.uwi.edu.