UCCI to host symposium on Caribbean

Next week, dozens of speakers will converge on the University College of the Cayman Islands campus in George Town to discuss the past and future of the Caribbean.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the fall of the West Indies Federation, UCCI is collaborating with the International College of the Cayman Islands and the University of the West Indies at Mona to host the 50-50 Caribbean Conference on 21-23 March, the third in the series of annual regional conferences staged by UCCI.

“This coming together of intellectuals, policymakers and the general public should allow for an unforgettable experience. UCCI is engaged in these conference initiatives for no other reason than to stimulate and inject new ideas and to thus offer invaluable opportunities to raise national intellectual and social assets to respond in more innovative and creative ways to the needs of the Island and those of the broader Caribbean,” Conference Director Livingston Smith said.

Owen Seymour Arthur, the opposition leader in the Barbados government and also former prime minister, will open the conference Wednesday evening with a keynote address on the emerging place of the Caribbean in global political and economic arenas.

Other plenary speakers include former senior Caribbean Ambassador Ronald Sanders, international adviser on governance and multilateral diplomacy Carlyle Corbin, Bermuda Premier Paula Cox, Harvard University sociologist Orlando Patterson, Cayman Islands Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, Cayman Islands Financial Services Chief Officer Dax Basdeo, and University of the West Indies faculty Neville Duncan, Keith Nurse and Michael Witter. Ambassador and former Bermuda Premier Ewart Brown will chair a panel and present a paper.

“It is safe to remark that it will be a long time before this level of expertise is assembled together in one room, not to mention the added bonus of being able to hear them explain and expound their positions. As if this is not reason enough to warrant attending the conference, there are approximately some 100 papers to be read and discussed. The UCCI International Conference has truly grown in significance and I implore you, the public, to attend as many presentations as possible,” said UCCI President Roy Bodden.

Mr. Bodden lauded the collaboration among UCCI, ICCI, UWI and the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies as “precedent setting”. He said, “Together these institutions of higher learning have set as their collective objective to provide an enlightening and outstanding experience for all conference participants.”

The conference includes plenary sessions as well as breakout presentations that include question-and-answer sessions with audience participation. Some presenters from Cayman include former Leader of Government Business Truman Bodden, Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, International College’s Scott and Kathleen Cummings, Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert, Premier’s Office Chief of Staff Leonard Dilbert, former Deputy Governor Lemuel Hurlston, Cayman Free Press photo journalist Michael Klein, former Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Chair Tim Ridley, former Monetary Authority board member Christopher Rose, Complaints Commissioner Nicola Williams, and Chief Policy Adviser for Education Jo Wood.

Public events include Wednesday’s opening ceremonies, as well as the book display and historical exhibits throughout the conference. In exchange for a $100 registration fee – which is waived for teachers, students and seniors – participants can attend sessions during all three days, and have lunch Thursday and Friday. For $50, participants can attend up to four plenary or breakout sessions.

The 50-50 Conference follows University College’s March 2011 Conference on Leadership, Governance and Empowerment in the Caribbean, and its March 2010 Conference on Caribbean Literature, Culture and Identity.

For more information, visit www.ucciconference.ky