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Two US Honours for UWI Vice-Chancellor

For Release Upon Receipt - Thursday, March 2, 2017

On Tuesday 28th February, 2017, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, was honoured with the internationally prestigious Amistad Award from Central Connecticut State University. The presentation was made by President of the University,

Dr. Zulma Toro, who spoke of the role played by Vice-Chancellor Beckles in international university leadership and in particular, public education in the Caribbean.

The award states that: “The Amistad Award is conferred in recognition of his outstanding contributions to historical knowledge and the struggle for human rights and social justice”.

In 1839 the Slave Ship "Amistad" arrived in the USA with 53 Africans. With the help of anti-slavery activists, and the legal advocacy of former President of the USA, John Quincy Adams, the captives were able to litigate to gain their freedom. A Federal Judge in the state of Connecticut ruled that they were illegally brought to the country and had a right to rebel against their captors. The trial of the Amistad 53 became the most famous law case in American history. The State, and its university, mark this historic moment and honour the men and women aboard the Amistad for the tenacity and courage in gaining their freedom. Vice-Chancellor Beckles in accepting the award, thanked President Toro, and the Amistad Committee, for their collegial generosity and pledged his continued support for global civil rights and the quest for greater human dignity in the face of the corrosive challenges of everyday life.

Mayor of the City of Hartford in Connecticut, Luke Bronin also declared March 2nd, 2017 “Sir Hilary Beckles Day”. The proclamation comes following a series of public engagements in the city by Vice-Chancellor Beckles. In reference to the honour, Mayor Bronin cited Vice-Chancellor Beckles’ “global service in the cause of to social justice, peace, and sustainable development”.


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