Media Center

Press Release


  November 12, 2008

A new partnership the Organization of American States (OAS) has launched with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and two major Haitian universities seeks to widen cooperation among institutions of higher learning and facilitate Haiti’s integration into the Caribbean Community. In this initial phase, the tripartite collaboration among the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus, the State University of Haiti, and Quisqueya University is expected to establish mechanisms to further collaboration through the exchange of students and faculty as well as joint research and study programs.

Participating in the launch of this education and development partnership were senior representatives of participating universities including Vice-Chancellor Nigel Harris and Professor Gordon Shirley, Principal of the UWI’s Mona Campus; Rector Jean Vernet Henry and Vice-Rector Wilson Laleau of the State University of Haiti; and Prof. Evens Emmanuel of Quisqueya University.

In introducing this milestone initiative, OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin noted that “This initiative will lay the foundation for meaningful collaboration on access to higher education in the region and will, ultimately, broaden the range of educational and professional growth opportunities that are available for the people of the Caribbean.”

Ramdin expressed confidence that this partnership will provide for a more structured approach to the exchange of information, technology and know how between Haitian universities and the UWI. “This promising new alliance is rooted in the idea that education is the cornerstone of human security, economic growth, citizen participation and good governance,” remarked Ramdin while addressing an audience comprised of government officials, faculty, students and the media.

The Assistant Secretary General added: “this new partnership will ultimately impact the educational landscape of the Caribbean Community; facilitate enhancement of socio-cultural linkages, the exchange of relevant knowledge; and improve the region’s linguistic competitiveness.”

He warned that investment in education and other social programs must remain a priority. “By developing programs which expand opportunities and access to higher education, we enable our peoples to realize their full potential,” he stated.

Ambassador Ramdin argued that a “pragmatic, coordinated and forward-looking approach to education access and investment will help countries in the hemisphere, especially in the Caribbean, to better respond to the pervasive problem of “brain drain” and thereby retain the critical competence so germane to socio-economic development.”

The OAS has pledged to explore the provision of special scholarships and committed the assistance of the OAS country offices in Haiti and Jamaica to help move this endeavor forward.


Reference: E-436/08