SUNY, University of the West Indies Establish Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development

September 21, 2016

New York City – The State University of New York and The University of the West Indies (UWI) have established the SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development, which will build on areas identified in previous UWI-SUNY analyses while also including 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. The center will 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 H. Carl McCall. "Our partnership is all the more exciting when you consider the positive impact and practical benefits the application of our research, academic programs, 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. We are proud to advance our mutual goals with The UWI and I thank Sir Hilary for his continued passion and leadership."

UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said: "Both The UWI and SUNY have agreed that a center of this nature is 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, in which there is a substantial Caribbean diaspora that is served by SUNY. This initiative is part of the program of international engagement that enables The UWI to play an active developmental role among the wider Caribbean community."

UWI Chancellor Sir George Alleyne said, "My warmest congratulations on this path-breaking initiative which is a part of The UWI's global agenda which focuses here 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."

At the center, joint teams of UWI and SUNY expert teams will take a multi-disciplinary approach and draw on external expertise as appropriate to advance the following goals:

  • Creation of a master’s program 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 center 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 at 325 Hudson Street in Manhattan, one of SUNY Empire State College’s three New York City locations.

The concept for the center has garnered strong support from the Commonwealth and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Commonwealth Secretary General The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC said, "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. 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."

About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a fully-fledged, regional University with over 50,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with three physical campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and an Open Campus. The UWI serves 17 English-speaking countries and territories in the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, The British Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos. The UWI’s faculty and students come from more than 40 countries and The University has collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation.



The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is a nonprofit member organization, comprising twenty countries, fifteen member states and five associate members. CARICOM is home for approximately sixteen million citizens, 60 percent of whom are younger than 30 years of age. As part of its mission, CARICOM seeks to affirm the collective identity and facilitate social cohesion for the people of its member and associate member states; realize the human potential as defined by the Ideal Caribbean Person; achieve full employment and full enjoyment of human rights and to systematically reduce poverty, unemployment and social exclusion and their impacts on the people comprising CARICOM.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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