Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, has been named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation, through the Rotary Club of St. Andrew, in recognition of his “extensive work as a thought leader in the field of social justice and minority empowerment.”
Named after the founder of Rotary, Paul Harris, a Chicago lawyer who started Rotary International with three business associates in 1905, the presentation of the Paul Harris Fellow recognition is the Rotary Foundation’s way of expressing its appreciation for a substantial contribution to its humanitarian and educational programmes.
Marie Powell, Assistant Governor, Rotary, Jamaica Southeast said “Rotarians often designate a Paul Harris Fellow as a tribute to a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objective of the Rotary Foundation.”
Sir Hilary said that he had long identified with the tenets of the Rotary movement and was “honoured to be named a Paul Harris Fellow.” He praised Mr. Harris as “an extraordinary leader whose vision has resulted in the creation of fellowship across a global network of change makers who are investing personal time, money and expertise into priorities like eradicating disease, promoting peace, reducing poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and promoting sustainable development.”
Sir Hilary is highly regarded as an economic historian, educator and social activist. Under his leadership, The UWI has achieved three top spots in rankings by Times Higher Education (THE), the globally recognized and world’s most prestigious ranking agency for higher education. Currently, The UWI is placed among the top 1% of universities in the Latin America and Caribbean region; top 1% of Golden Agers (universities between 50-80 years of age) and stands as the only Caribbean university to be ranked by THE.
As Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Reparations Commission, Sir Hilary is leading the region’s call for reparatory justice for the 300 years of slavery in the Caribbean, actively pursuing compensation for the native genocide and African enslavement from the former colonizing nations of Europe.
Sir Hilary joins a list of distinguished Paul Harris Fellows including former US President Jimmy Carter, former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, US Astronaut James Vogel, former United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar and polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk.