Professor Beckles to address UN General Assembly

by March 25, 2024

Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is scheduled to headline a programme hosted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on March 25, 2024 to commemorate the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The event, which takes place at 10:00 am (AST/Eastern Caribbean), will be held at the General Assembly Hall in New York and will be livestreamed on The UWI’s public information platform, UWItv Global.

The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is observed annually on March 25, since 2007. The day is dedicated to honouring and remembering the victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which enslaved over 13 million Africans for more than 400 years. The day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice.

Vice-Chancellor Beckles is a renowned global public activist in social justice and minority empowerment. He is also the Chairman of the Caribbean Community [CARICOM] Commission on Reparation and Social Justice and a United Nations committee official. His life’s work has been dedicated to the reparatory justice conversation. In 2013, he coordinated the policy positions of Caribbean governments on reparatory justice, established The UWI’s Centre for Reparation Research, served as an associate member of the University College London’s Legacies of British Slave-ownership research project, and the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation. He also represented Barbados and led the Caribbean NGO delegation at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. He is the author of Britain’s Black Debt, which is the first scholarly work that looks comprehensively at the reparations discussion in the Caribbean.

In the UNGA event, Vice-Chancellor Beckles’ keynote address under the 2024 remembrance theme, “Creating Global Freedom: Countering Racism with Justice in Societies and Among Nations” will set out the narrative that captures the rise of reparations from a network of spontaneous local moments to a highly organised global movement.

The programme will also feature a message by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, an address from President of the General Assembly and UWI alum, His Excellency Dennis Francis, as well as remarks by the designated youth speaker, Yolanda Renee King, author and granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“It is always an honour to address the UN General Assembly. I wish to thank Secretary-General Gutteres for this recognition. But to speak with the President of the Assembly Ambassador Francis in the chair, a UWI alumnus, is special and priceless,” said Vice-Chancellor Beckles.

The UNGA commemoration event for the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade will be carried live on UN WebTV and on via, the UWItv Facebook page, and on UWItv’s Flow and HubTV cable channels.