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The UWI gave me an understanding of the Caribbean. It made me a West Indian. I met people from all over the Caribbean, because of the mixture of the student population and the great deal of cross-fertilization among the campuses. We had so many Caribbean people living on Milner Hall, Canada Hall, and in private accommodations in St. Augustine. My growing Caribbean ethos was reinforced by becoming involved in the Student Guild. I had the opportunity to travel across the region as a student representative and was able to establish lifelong friendships in the region that I carry with me to this day. The UWI fostered a curiosity in the outside world and the place of the Caribbean in that world. Without my time there, I would not be the person that I am today. I owe a special debt of gratitude to The UWI. I firmly believe that The University of the West Indies must spark a renaissance to renew the Caribbean enterprise.

Caribbean Future: Resilient or At Risk? A Caribbean renaissance depends on our ability to function as a unified region. We cannot survive if we function on the global stage as small, individual nation-states in an increasingly complex and changing world. A new direction for the Caribbean will only come into play, if we, as Caribbean people, advocate for it. Beyond convenience and expedience, we need to create a shared vision, around which we, as West Indians, can rally. This will require government, business, civil society, the labour movement, young people, and our development partners, to work together toward a new vision for the Caribbean by 2050. The intellectual hub of the Caribbean, The University of the West Indies, has an important and defining role to play. We are at a turning point in our history. The time to act is now. Let us seize the opportunity.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT

Deodat Maharaj was appointed Deputy Secretary-General (Economic and Social Development) of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, in 2014. Prior to that, he was Chief (Division for Afghanistan), former Chief of Staff, and Chief (Regional Programmes), at the United Nations Development Programme’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, in New York. He has worked in Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Guyana and Tanzania, and has served at the Caribbean Development Bank in Barbados. Mr. Maharaj was Head of the Secretariat on the Ministerial Council for Social Development with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds an MSc in International Affairs from Florida State University, as well as degrees in Government (The UWI) and Law (London University), and a postgraduate diploma in International Affairs from The University of the West Indies. http://thecommonwealth.org/

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UWI Pelican Issue 14