NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (April 24, 2023)- Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Sir Hilary Beckles has lauded Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, as a leader with strong principles and a champion for the people that he serves, and by extension the wider Caribbean community.
The Honourable Brantley was an honoree at the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies 26th Annual Gala held in New York City on April 20, 2023, where he was bestowed with the 2023 Vice Chancellor Award for Excellence in International Governance and Leadership.
In presenting the award, Sir Hilary said, “We celebrate his contribution to his people, to his community. We celebrate the principles on which he stands as a distinguished son of the Caribbean and for commitment to his community and to the less enfranchised members of his community. The University of the West Indies is proud to be associated with those values and principles. So we see you as a hero and we celebrate you for taking care of your people.”
Premier Brantley, the first Nevisian to receive an AFUWI Excellence Award, spoke to his profound honour at being recognized by such an esteemed body, expressing gratitude to the Foundation and his alma mater, the University of the West Indies.
“I want to thank you for this opportunity. Education for us is the only proven way out of poverty and to improve our circumstances and so thank you UWI, thank you AFUWI for giving me this tremendous honour. For a boy from Nevis to be standing here tonight is really important, it’s really significant, and I am overjoyed.”
Noting that he had attended UWI on scholarship, Premier Brantley highlighted the importance of institutions such as the AFUWI whose philanthropy provides young people the opportunity to access tertiary education.
He hailed the University of the West Indies as one of the top educational institutions in the world, one that has played a critical role in the development of Caribbean civilization over the university’s 75-year history.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to say how important the institution of the University of the West Indies is to our Caribbean civilization. The University of the West Indies provides us a forum, an opportunity, for integration at all levels and many of us who have attended the University of the West Indies have a similar experience, that I can now travel to every single island in our region and know people there, have friends there, and that I think ultimately, that people-to-people connection, is what makes UWI such a special place. I have absolutely no doubt as the Vice Chancellor pointed out that we are one of the top universities in the world. I have absolutely no doubt about the intellectual mettle of our Caribbean people, and so I want to wish the University of the West Indies continued success.”
The Honourable Brantley, who in December 2022 won a second term in office as Premier, also previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of St. Kitts and Nevis.
As one of six outstanding Caribbean professionals honoured at the 2023 AFUWI Gala, Mr. Brantley joins an illustrious group of awardees that includes the Honourable Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados; award-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg; American Business Executive Mr. Kenneth Chenault; the Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and prolific writer, educator and medical doctor, Sir George Alleyne.