The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, has donated over 500 copies of the book ‘Voices of the Pelican’ to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Education, for islandwide distribution to sixth-form students.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, accepted the publications from the Curator of the UWI Museum, Dr. Shani Roper, at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle location in Kingston on Tuesday (January 19).
The books are a compilation of graduation speeches delivered by Sir George Alleyne between 2003 and 2016. Sir George served as Chancellor of The UWI from 2003 to 2010 and then from 2010 to 2017.
Speaking with JIS News, Minister Williams said that the books will serve as a “timeless reminder to students as they graduate, about their place in the world and the need for them to be examples”.
She said they will also help the young people to lead in whatever discipline they choose.
“If you read this, you would be inspired by his many graduation speeches across the years. In fact, I looked at one that he gave in 2009, when we were in the financial crisis and it mirrors what he was saying then and could be said today as we are going through the pandemic. It addresses the need to be resilient, the need for our tertiary institutions to be relevant, for them to be collaborative especially with industry, and for them to be producing students who will make their mark on the world,” she noted.
“I would encourage all to get a copy and read it. They will be inspired by his words,” she added.
Dr. Roper, for her part, said that the university hopes that by reading this book, students will be motivated to aspire for greatness as Sir George did.
“His speeches cover a wide range of sociopolitical and economic issues that had a direct impact on the running of the university while at the same time, developing a vision of intervention to advance learning, create knowledge and foster innovation to positively transform the region,” she said.
She noted that the books will be particularly useful to students at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) level in the areas of Caribbean Studies and Communication Studies.
Sir George Alleyne became a Professor of Medicine at UWI in 1972 and taught a generation of Caribbean medical graduates.
In 1995, he was appointed Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office. He served two four-year terms in this position until the end of January 2003 and was elected Director Emeritus.
From 2003 to 2010, he was the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.
Sir George has received numerous awards in recognition of his work, including from many countries of the Americas. In 1990, he was made Knight Bachelor by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his services to Medicine.
In 2001, he was awarded the Order of the Caribbean Community, the highest honour that can be conferred on a Caribbean national.
The fifth Chancellor of the UWI, Sir George was the first UWI alumnus to fill the prestigious position.