The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the State University of New York (SUNY) has launched the SUNY UWI Centre for Leadership and Sustainable Development.
It will build on areas identified in previous UWI-SUNY analyses and will include research relevant to democratic participation, leadership, and governance, with a focus on solutions to specific problems constraining the achievement of the United Nation’s sustainable development goals. It will also focus on serving groups that have faced barriers to equal opportunities.
“SUNY’s new partnership with The UWI represents an important milestone in our ongoing conversations about educating and empowering students and faculty in order to make substantial advances in the areas of leadership and sustainable human development,” said SUNY Board Chairman Carl McCall as the centre was launched on September 20 at the SUNY Global Centre in New York.
“Our partnership is all the more exciting when you consider the positive impact and practical benefits the application of our research, academic programmes, teaching, and learning will have for our students and faculty, as well as the millions of people in the Caribbean, the Caribbean Diaspora in New York, and beyond.”
UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said both universities had agreed that a centre of this nature was required to provide innovative solutions to the underlying problems that ultimately constrain the achievement of sustainable human development in the wider Caribbean and in the urban areas of New York State, where there is a substantial Caribbean Diaspora that is served by SUNY. “This initiative is part of the programme of international engagement that enables the UWI to play an active developmental role among the wider Caribbean community,” he said.
UWI Chancellor Sir George Alleyne extended congratulations on the “path-breaking initiative”.
He said it was part of The UWI’s global agenda which focuses on a more active, supportive and developmental role that embraces the Caribbean community and Diaspora.
“It will provide some of that essential leadership training and research needed by the wider Caribbean as it prepares to meet the new sustainable development goals,” he said.
The concept for the centre has also garnered strong support from the Commonwealth and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
“I commend the vision and commitment to serving the practical needs of the people of the Caribbean – whether at home or in the Diaspora – that has led to the SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development,” said Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland.
“Commonwealth citizens from the Caribbean and from other Small Island Developing States will derive lasting benefit from this partnership project and the focus it brings to the human development needs of our people, wherever they live, learn or work. In this year when we celebrate An Inclusive Commonwealth it is good to see the UWI continuing to play an active and innovative developmental role for the benefit of the wider Caribbean community.”
At the centre, joint UWI and SUNY expert teams will take a multi-disciplinary approach and draw on external expertise to advance: creation of a Master’s programme in leadership and sustainable development; solutions-oriented research; student advocacy and mobilization of the Caribbean Diaspora; establishment of an expert network; and facilitation of a think tank.
The SUNY UWI Centre for Leadership and Sustainable Development will be governed by an advisory board consisting of academic experts, foundation and development professionals and administrative leaders from the UWI and SUNY. It will begin operations in Manhattan at one of SUNY Empire State College’s three New York City locations.