2018/2019 saw the first academic offering from the Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development (CLDS) – a major milestone for the SUNY UWI collaboration. The Advanced Certificate in Leadership for Sustainable Development is a postgraduate programme which was jointly delivered by SUNY Empire State and The University of the West Indies, Open Campus under the auspices of CLSD. It is designed to build human capacity in Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by providing a practical programme targeting persons engaged in environmental, community, public and private sector leadership. The five-course programme will provide graduates with certificates issued by both universities which will enhance its global portability. A Master’s programme is scheduled to follow in 2020.
The collaboration between SUNY (University of Buffalo, Upstate) and The University of the West Indies (The UWI, Mona) was rewarded with a coveted five-year grant of US $1.1 million for the Global Infectious Diseases Research Training Program by the National Institutes of Health, Fogarty Award. This initiative, led jointly by Professor John Lindo of The UWI, Mona and Professor Gene Morse of SUNY, University of Buffalo, is a significant achievement for the health sector in Jamaica and the Caribbean region and facilitated the continued growth of the CLSD in that arena. The program was launched at The UWI’s Regional Headquarters (RHQ) in Kingston in November 2018 and subsequently in February 2019 in New York at the SUNY Global Center. World renowned Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Sustainable Development, Solutions Network - Columbia University was the special guest presenter at the New York City event.
In keeping with its mission to actively engage the Caribbean diaspora community, CLSD hosted its second community engagement series – The Caribbean Music Industry 2019: What’s Next for Dance Hall and the New Breakout Artiste? At the August 19, 2019 event, keynote speaker, Dr Carolyn Cooper, Professor Emeritus, The UWI kept the audience riveted with her presentation on the evolution of Reggae and Dance Hall music. She was ably supported by a panel of industry practitioners and experts including popular Dance Hall artiste, Carlton Grant aka Spragga Benz; industry manager and artiste, Cristy Barber and Robert ‘Bobbie’ Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Media Group.
This outreach was followed by the Caribbean Film series which featured five films of Caribbean origin. The features focused on major economic, social and cultural issues impacting the livelihood and well-being of the citizens of the different island nations. The films were screened over the months of June to November in different locations across the state of New York. Audiences were treated to a rare opportunity to interact and engage in person with some of the producers and directors. Such persons included Stephanie Black and Dr. Keith Nurse who produced the films Life & Debt and Forward Home respectively. They were on hand at SUNY Albany and SUNY New Paltz to share insights into the making of these epic docu-films.
A highlight of the year under review was the Climate Action symposium held on September 20, 2019 at the SUNY Global Center in New York. This highly successful event was coordinated by Dr. Stacy Kennedy of the University Office of Global Partnerships and Sustainable Futures. This symposium aimed to energise partnership commitments, maximise synergies and globalise coordinated action to combat climate change. Interactive panel discussions with representatives from the World Bank, the International Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) highlighted the collaborative work of development partners and universities to strengthen the interface between knowledge, policy and practice. Conversations also surrounded the translation of research into climate innovations as well as highlighted the role of research communication and advocacy in generating much-needed developmental impact at the grassroots level. The exchange between academia and development partners also emphasised targeted areas for action, which are informed by evidence and driven by demand.
Based on a recent decision by the Board of CLSD, the operations of the Center are now jointly managed by Dr. Latasha Brown of SUNY Empire State and Ms. Ann-Marie Grant of the American Foundation for The UWI (AFUWI) with virtual technical support from Kevin Manning, The UWI Cave Hill. Dr. Luz Longsworth, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Open Campus and Ms. Sally Crimmins Villea, Associate Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs, SUNY continue to have direct oversight and responsibility on behalf of their respective universities.