The UWI partners with IDB in Sub-Regional Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation.
According to Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, “the Caribbean was a principal global victim of the first and second industrial revolutions, which were built upon slavery and colonialism. Though still recuperating from some of their negative economic and social effects, the Caribbean experienced some recovery during the third industrial revolution in the development of competitive services economies, and is now positioned to make significant advancements in the fourth industrial revolution that is upon us.” Active participation, he added, is the only way to ensure that we propel our Caribbean economies to achieve both economic and social growth, with universities playing a leading role, supported by governments and the private sector.
Vice-Chancellor Beckles was giving remarks at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel for the opening of the Sub-Regional Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation on Wednesday 12 June, 2019. The conference continued at The UWI Regional Headquarters in Jamaica the following day. It was organised in collaboration with the Inter-American Bank (IDB) and Development Bank of Jamaica to engage Caribbean policy-makers, tertiary level educational institutions and private sector stakeholders in a series of conversations on how to strengthen ecosystems that support dynamic entrepreneurship and innovation in the Caribbean region.
This partnership is a follow-on to a Memorandum of Understanding signed last year between The UWI and IDB which formalised a framework of cooperation in programming to promote evidence-based decision making on economic and social policy issues in the Caribbean region through joint initiatives on research, online education, knowledge creation and dissemination.
The conference sought to expose participants to a characterisation of the key elements of effective eco-systems, facilitate discussion on the level of development of Caribbean eco-systems, and map ways to strengthen them. Participants included Caribbean entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, representatives from regional ministries of economic development, industry and commerce and others as well as representatives from tertiary level educational institutions. UWI academics including Pro Vice-Chancellor – Graduate Studies and Research, Professor Stephan Gift; Director of the Institute of Criminal Justice and Security, Professor Anthony Harriott and Professor Emerita Carolyn Cooper also contributed to the dialogue, making presentations and speaking on panels.
The UWI’s Director of Development, Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy delivered remarks at the culminating event on Friday 14 June, at The UWI Regional Headquarters—a symposium themed “One Caribbean Solutions” convened by Universities Caribbean (formerly the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA)—which further interrogated the role that universities play in the advocacy for finding practical solutions to challenges faced by the Caribbean and Latin American (LAC) region. Dr. Richards-Kennedy emphasised that “The UWI was proud to host this conference as it sees alignment of the University with industry as a critical element in its strategic mission to contribute to Revitalising Caribbean Development, as articulated in the University’s Triple A Strategy 2017-2022.” Dr. Richards-Kennedy also highlighted the power of regional and global partnerships, as the University seeks to strengthen research and innovation uptake and translation and to provide practical, integrated solutions to the multi-dimensional development challenges faced by the Caribbean.
This collaboration between the regional organisation of universities, The UWI and the Inter-American Development Bank presented a unique opportunity to economic, political and academic leaders across the Caribbean and Latin America to exchange ideas on strategies for developing innovative entrepreneurship in the Caribbean and facilitating sustainable development in small states.
Photo Caption: (from left to right): Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy, Director, Office of Development, The UWI; Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The UWI; the Hon. Fayval Williams, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Jamaica; Mr. Milverton Reynolds, Managing Director, Development Bank of Jamaica; Ms. Audrey Richards, Coordinator of the Jamaica Venture Capital Programme; and Mr. Jose Jorge Saavedra, Lead Operations Specialist, Caribbean Country Department, Inter-American Development Bank.