A major development in the transformation of the higher education sector took place in the Dominican Republic, in November 2018, as Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles was elected as Universities Caribbean's first president.
Formerly the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA), the overarching mandate of Universities Caribbean is to revitalise, energise and effectively integrate the regional university sector and to enhance its quality and regional impact. The new approved strategic plan of the university grouping rests on three pillars: to improve the reputation of the sector; to enhance the resilience of the member universities, and to increase the revenue position members and the sector.
Guided by the organising principle of “One Caribbean Solution”, Universities Caribbean operates within the understanding that no one university can find answers to regional problems such as climate-smart actions, blue economy innovation, poverty and security, thus the university leaders pledge to work as a collective. Based on this principle, Vice-Chancellor Beckles assured colleagues that “Universities Caribbean will be the region's voice in the areas of quality, globalisation, resilience, and financial sustainability.”
In June 2019, The UWI Regional Headquarters hosted One Caribbean Solutions, the yearly symposium convened by Universities Caribbean in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).