Jamaican business leader, Senator Don Wehby, the GraceKennedy Group, along with three Caribbean leaders are among a group of eight distinguished persons to be honoured at the 25th anniversary awards Gala of the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI).
Senator Wehby will receive the AFUWI Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Global Business Leadership and the GraceKennedy CEO is set to receive the AFUWI Corporate Award for Global Business Excellence on behalf of his organisation. AFUWI Legacy Awards will be presented to the Honourable Gaston A. Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, and Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis, and the AFUWI Vice-Chancellor’s Award to Dr. the Honourable Mark A. Brantley, Premier of Nevis and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for St. Kitts and Nevis.
The other four persons to be honoured at the Gala carded for April 21 in New York are Wayne Berson, CPA, Chief Executive Officer, BDO USA, who will receive the Foundation’s Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Financial Advisory Services; Dawnn Lewis, Grammy Award-winning Songwriter, Producer and Actress, who will receive the Bob Marley Award; Ambassador Ralph S. Thomas earmarked for the Pelican Award and Graham Robinson, Senior Vice President and President of STANLEY Industrial will be given the Caribbean Luminary Award.
The AFUWI Awards are conferred annually on notable individuals and companies that represent outstanding achievements in their respective fields of industry, enterprise, and in service in their communities. The US-based AFUWI partners with UWI alumni, the Caribbean Community in the USA, American foundations, and corporations to raise funds for projects, scholarships and academic programmes across the five campuses of The University of the West Indies.
Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the regional University said, “The 2022 awardees are indeed a distinguished group deserving of acknowledgement at the 25th anniversary of the AFUWI Awards Gala. This is a time too when we must pay homage to the many sponsors of the event and the persons who annually attend the gala and contribute to the raising of scholarship funds for hundreds of worthy students.”
Vice-Chancellor Beckles also noted that The UWI which is preparing to celebrate its 75th anniversary next year, has worked tirelessly to develop sustainable funding strategies in the face of economic challenges that have caused many governments to reduce student support. He added, “Most recently, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has made our situation even more difficult.”
He explained that The UWI has forged linkages between industry and academia, sports, entertainment, and culture, to deliver innovation and value for the economic growth of Caribbean nations and will soon be going to the bond market to raise US$60 million to finance the establishment of an offshore medical university in Trinidad and Tobago as part of a range of measures to place the institution on a sound financial footing. “The UWI is working to transform itself into a global university providing education to 100,000 students all over the world, online. We have already forged partnerships with leading universities in Africa, Cuba, the USA, England, and China. Soon there will be a UWI in every continent,” he declared.
The 25th anniversary of the AFUWI Gala will be held on Thursday, April 21, 2022, at 6:00 pm EST at 583 Park Avenue @63rd Street, New York City. Individual tickets start at US$500 and must be reserved by April 18. For further information, please call 1-212-759-9345 or visit www.afuwi.org.