ONE LOVE/ONE UWI #7: Message from the Vice-Chancellor

A Series from Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

“The Third World is an artificial construction of the West—an ideological empire on which the sun is always setting.”
[Shiva Naipaul, An Unfinished Journey]
We know why we must persist. We know our mandate as a dedicated public university serving our region. It seemed even clearer when the news broke that two of our retired legends, Dr. Michael Gilkes (Cave Hill Campus) and Professor Tara Dasgupta (Mona Campus) had succumbed to COVID-19. We fight on because their legacies will not be allowed to fade as they live on within the soul of our community. Blessings upon their families, colleagues, and the students who they empowered.

In our fight, UWI Medicine and UWI Science continue to make us proud, working with our governments in shaping public health policy and assisting with the implementation of anti-COVID-19 strategies. Our colleagues in the Humanities and Social Sciences have been sharing critical disciplinary insights into the dimensions of expected economic fallout from the pandemic, as well as the impact in terms of psychological trauma, human rights, democratic decision-making, and the nature of the social contract between civil society and state. Our students have rekindled the culture of volunteerism, even as they adjust to online learning and prepare for exams. Our engineers are getting into the business of manufacturing face shields and ventilators, and working with the private sector to meet public needs.

The University is growing in strength as it asserts its identity as an activist academy, dedicated to serving the public good above and beyond any other calling.

Meanwhile, we are keeping focused around the structure and culture of teaching and learning, and research and reasoning. We are keeping engaged with our staff, and our 50,000 students as we prepare to welcome yet another new cohort in the academic year 2020-2021.

We have established a Special Task Force to “imagine” what the new academic year will bring.

Working for our region, we shall be ready to sustain our service.

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

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