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WASHINGTON, D.C — The Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) is moving to forge stronger links with the Business Schools of Howard University, and the American University, which are based in the United States capital, Washington, D.C.

A four-man delegation, headed by Pro-Vice Chancellor and UWI Mona Campus Principal, Professor Gordon Shirley, visited Washington, D.C. recently for meetings with officials of both tertiary institutions. The team included: Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor Edward Duggan; MSBM Executive Director, Professor Paul Simmons, and Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Denzil Williams. 

The UWI officials’ trip was a return visit to one made earlier this year by the Deans of Howard and the American Universities, Drs. Barron Harvey and Michael Ginzberg, respectively, for meetings with their local counterparts.

The meetings in Jamaica and the United States were organized and facilitated by Advisory Board member of Howard and American Universities’ Business Schools, George Willie, a UWI alumnus. Mr. Willie is a principal and managing partner in one of the largest accounting and management consultancy firms in Washington, D.C., Bert Smith and Company.

Speaking at a reception, hosted for the Jamaican delegation by Mr. Willie, at the City Club in Washington Square, Professor Shirley pointed out that the UWI and both American colleges “share similar interests”, and have been collaborating on how best to strengthen linkages between their business schools.

Professor Shirley noted Mr. Willie’s longstanding interest in establishing a strong accounting programme in Jamaica that could be linked to a number of international bodies.

"We have started to talk about how he can leverage his connections here to help us to establish that kind of accounting programme,” the pro-Vice Chancellor  informed while praising him for his support of the UWI through, among other things, his efforts to organize and facilitate the visits and meetings.

Professor Shirley also announced that beginning 2013, Mr. Willie will sponsor three lectures being to be delivered at the UWI’s Department of Business, while suggested that they should, fittingly, be named in his honour.

The Pro Vice Chancellor also advised that efforts are being made to secure accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) for the MSBM’s programmes

Founded in 1916, the Washington, D.C.-based AACSB is one of the premier accreditation bodies globally for tertiary institutions offering degrees in business and accounting.

In his remarks at the function, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Stephen Vasciannie, described the proposed collaboration by the universities as a “step in the right direction”. He said the shared knowledge and experiences will enhance the learning experience at the three institutions.

He also lauded Mr. Willie for his “steadfast commitment” to education at the UWI, as well as his support consistently given to various Jamaican and Caribbean projects throughout the Washington, D.C. area.

In their remarks, Deans of Howard and the American Universities, Drs. Barron Harvey and Michael Ginzberg, welcomed the proposed collaborations, noting that students and lecturers would benefit significantly, particularly through exchange visits facilitated.

For his part, Mr. Willie underscored his commitment to doing everything possible to support the advancement of education in Jamaica, “especially at the University of the West Indies."