IDB President Backs The UWI

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI and President Mauricio Claver-Carone of the IDB display signed copies of an MOU to launch a new phase of cooperation between their institutions.

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, President Claver-Carone described The UWI, which 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.

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.

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.”

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.