The Installation of Vice-Chancellor
Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles


VC Sir Hilary BecklesBefore assuming the office of Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies on May 1, 2015, Professor Sir Hilary was Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados for thirteen years (2002-2015). Sir Hilary has emerged as a distinguished university administrator, internationally reputed Economic Historian, and transformational leader in higher education. He has had a spectacular journey within the UWI, entering as a temporary assistant lecturer in 1979 at the Mona campus. In short time he was promoted to senior lecturer and then to the rank of Reader. In 1991, at age 36, he was promoted to a Personal Professorship, then the youngest in the history of the university.

The international recognition of his competence has been global. He is Vice President of the International Task force for the UNESCO Slave Route Project; a consultant for the UNESCO Cities for Peace Global Programme; and in 2014 was appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, to his inaugural United Nations Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board on sustainable development.
Sir Hilary is, in addition, a respected playwright and member of the theatre community. Eight of his plays have been staged to popular acclaim. In the corporate community his footprint is well established. He is a long serving director of Sagicor Financial Corporation, and has served as a director of its principal subsidiaries Sagicor Jamaica Ltd, and Sagicor Barbados Ltd. He is a director of Cable and Wireless Barbados Ltd, and is Chairman of The University of the West Indies Press.

Sir Hilary received his higher education in the United Kingdom and graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Economic and Social History from Hull University in 1976, and a PhD from the same university in 1980. He has received numerous awards including Honorary Doctor of Letters (Brock); (Glasgow); (Hull); (KNUST), in recognition of his major contribution to academic research into transatlantic slavery, popular culture, and sport. He is an editor of the UNESCO General History of Africa series.

Sir Hilary was made a Commander Knight of St Andrew (KA), Barbados’ highest honour, in recognition of his distinguished service in the field of education, in particular at university level, and his dedication to the furtherance of the arts and sport in particular cricket. He has lectured extensively in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas and has published more than ten academic books including Britain’s Black Debt: Reparations for Slavery in the Caribbean (2013); Centering Woman: Gender Discourses in Caribbean Slave Society (1999); White Servitude and Black Slavery in Barbados 1627-1715 (1990); The History of Barbados (1990); Natural Rebels: A History of Enslaved Black Women in the Caribbean (1989); The Development of West Indies Cricket: Volume One, The Age of Nationalism; and Volume Two, The Age of Globalisation, (1999); A Nation Imagined: The First West Indies Test Team: The 1928 Tour (2003).

He is Chairman of the Caribbean Community [CARICOM] Commission on Reparation and Social Justice. Sir Hilary is Founder and Director of the CLR James Centre for Cricket Research at Cave Hill Campus, and a former member of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). He is Founder and inaugural Chairman of the Sagicor High Performance Cricket Academy of the WICB. He is also Vice President of the Commonwealth Sports Ministers advisory body on Sport and Development. He is an Editor of UNESCO’s General History of Africa, and has conceptualised the “Global Africa” theme for this series.

On April 10, 2015 Sir Hilary was honoured by the Borough of Brooklyn, New York, for "extraordinary achievements, outstanding leadership and his contribution to the community…"

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles - Curriculum Vitae