First Open Campus Cruise Hailed As a Learning Adventure
The inaugural University of the West Indies Open Campus cruise on the Caribbean Princess, April 17 to 24, 2011, has been hailed as “a true learning adventure”. Beginning and ending in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the cruise docked in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Antigua and Barbuda; St. Lucia and Barbados.
From all accounts, the “UWI Open Campus Scholar Ship” lived up to its promise, articulated by Open Campus Principal, Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald, as “a lifelong learning adventure especially designed to strengthen the relationships between UWI alumni, friends and family and to provide knowledge and information on various subjects relevant to the region”.
On-board lectures and tailor-made tours of natural, cultural and heritage sites were led by UWI “faculty” headed by distinguished Caribbean Anthropologist and Honorary Research Fellow at UWI, Dr. Lennox Honychurch.
UWI Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Sir George Alleyne, who along with Lady Alleyne, was a special guest on the cruise said, “This was my first cruise, so I have no benchmarks. But I believe that it will be difficult for future ones to be better. It was an excellent idea brilliantly executed, and there can be nothing but congratulations for the organizers and many many thanks for the enthusiastic receptions at all the Open Campus sites. My special thanks to Dr. Honychurch for so generously sharing his knowledge with us both at the formal lectures as well as informally at the various sites. Congratulations all around!”
A number of Scholar Ship,
Caribbean dignitaries commented favourably on the
Governor, Mr. Boyd McCleary, CMB, said that, “it was a pleasure to have
CVO, of the British Virgin Islands the former graduates of UWI as
guests of the territory and to acknowledge academic achievement and the importance scholarship in the development of the territory.”
importance of academia and
Governor McCleary commented that, “Any community needs to have strong aspirations and those aspirations must include the aspiration to study at the highest level and therefore the UWI performs a very important function for this community as it does for the communities across the Caribbean.”
The Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Social Development, the Honourable Ruth Dancia Penn, OBE, QC, concurred. Describing her own experience as a student at UWI Cave Hill in 1969 as “wonderful and enduring”, she noted that “UWI, over the years, has been a very important institution for the development of the Virgin Islands, and five of the current thirteen members of the House of Assembly are graduates of the esteemed institution.” She called on UWI Alumni to renew their commitment to the University and to be strong supporters of it.
Cruiser, Alberta Perez found the in-country tours very educational and informative as she was able to compare and contrast the cultures, flora and fauna of the many islands visited with those of
ancestry as a Belizean Garifuna at the Carib Indian (Maritime?)
Museum of the
of the Carib Indians - British Virgin Islands,
and in the food, cultural dress Lucians. Antigua’s landscape
and polka reminded
traditional dance of the St. her of Belize and she was
delighted to tour Barbados’ Cricket Legends Museum and the ever- expanding UWI Cave Hill Campus which she declared “vastly developed” since she studied there sixteen years ago.
A number of Caribbean celebrities and notables shared time and knowledge with cruisers to their islands including educators, historians, West Indies cricket legends, calypsonians and other entertainers, authors and artists.
The UWI Open Campus Scholar Ship featured a mix of formal and informal presentations, designed to showcase the Caribbean in a unique and fun way, while promoting continuing education.
The word from cruisers on this inaugural journey is definitely “mission accomplished”.
Principal, Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald presenting a certificate to Chancellor, Sir George Alleyne aboard the Caribbean Princess
Woule´! The Scholar Ship Cruise St. Lucia Stop
Registration on board the Caribbean Princess