Vice-Chancellors, Presidents, and Rectors of Caribbean-based universities and research institutes convened in 2018 under the leadership of Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, to strategically plan the regional university sector for the coming decade. The academic leaders represented CARICOM countries as well as, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and the French and Dutch-speaking Antilles.
Out of the deliberations, a new entity, Universities Caribbean, was birthed, to replace the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA), which dates back to 1967. The new organisation's mandate is to revitalise, energise, and integrate the regional university sector and to enhance its quality and regional impact.
Guided by the organising principle of "One Caribbean Solution", a new strategic plan for the new entity was also articulated—built upon improving the reputation of the sector; enhancing the resilience of the member universities; and increasing the revenue position of members and the sector. Among the initial projects will be the promotion of student mobility across the region and the creation of joint research projects around important regional challenges.
Vice-Chancellor Beckles was elected as the entity's first president. He is supported by an executive committee comprising leaders of universities in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, French Antilles, and the Dutch Antilles.