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USA | Jun 28, 2023

AFUWI to explore ‘Caribbean-exported greatness’ in June 30 forum

/ Our Today

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External view of the SUNY Global Center in New York. (Photo: Facebook @sunyglobalcenter)

The contribution of the Caribbean to the development of the United States will be the focus of a forum hosted by the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) at the SUNY Global Centre in New York on Friday (June 30).

The event, which celebrates Caribbean American Heritage Month, under the theme ‘Great Minds Are Made In The Caribbean‘ will have as its keynote speaker PJ Patterson, former Jamaican prime minister and an alumnus of University of the West Indies (UWI). 

Discussants will include UWI alums Dr Jermaine McCalpin, Dr Jacqueline Braveboy-Wagner and New York state senator Kevin Parker.

(Photo: Facebook @afuwi)

Dr Zulema Blair, professor and director of the Centre for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, will serve as moderator.

Dr Cyrus McCalla, chairman of AFUWI said that the foundation “is pleased to do our part to advance the discourse about the significant contributions of Caribbean people to the USA”.

He noted the foundation’s role in developing an endowment fund for The UWI, funding scholarships for needy students to the university and facilitating activities which recognise excellence and promote the robust cultural and social legacy of the Caribbean diaspora in the US.

Dr Cyrus McCalla. (Photo: One Brooklyn Health)

“This forum complements our work in acknowledging the roles of the scores of Caribbean nationals who have consistently blazed a trail of excellence across the United States of America. Our region has contributed so much from as early as the 1900’s when our people were recruited to help build the Panama Canal, and later as labour for the fruit harvesting, health care and agricultural industries,” McCalla explained.

“Our contemporary footprint spans excellence in academia, politics and other areas too with notables of Caribbean heritage holding high positions in Government, e.g., the Senate, the Treasury and the Judiciary. We are honored to be able to invite our donors and supporters to join the conversation on these  important issues lead by our panelists who are all  distinguished subject matter experts,” he added.

For his part, Patterson said, “The Caribbean intellectual tradition is a profound one and it has made extensive contributions to the questions about being human and what that means for the world.  Let us recognise the complexity of this tradition and also be attentive to its popular forms as we seek to transcend commercial and generational boundaries.”


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