By developing the Confucius Institute, the Cave Hill Campus is once again demonstrating its relevance to the community, private sector and our Governments.
Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Campus, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles stressed this today as he delivered remarks at the unveiling of a plaque to mark the establishment of that facility here in Barbados.
Explaining further, he said: ???Universities everywhere in the world are built to serve nations. They are not built to serve themselves but are built to serve the communities that serve them. Cave Hill has embarked upon an international enterprise to become in part a catalyst for growth and development and to indicate ways in which this Campus can assist in the development of the prosperity of our nation and our region.???
Sir Hilary also noted that UWI???s focus of late was about identifying ways and means of assisting our nations in their exit strategies from the global recession.
???We have taken steps to reduce our financial dependence upon the Governments; we have taken steps to generate as much foreign exchange as domestic dollars we consume and we are committed to promoting economic activity; the revitalisation of our private sector and to seek out international opportunities that would assist in the competitiveness of our community,??? he stated.
Noting that China???s role in the global economy was now paramount, the Pro-Vice Chancellor added that Barbados had been a long and trusted friend and partner of China and the Cave Hill Campus logically had ???to be a critical part of this national and regional alliance???.
???Chinese investment can serve as a catalyst for economic growth and development in Barbados and in the wider region. China has recently declared its intention by engaging the region in discussion on trade, investment, promotions and double taxation agreement,??? declared the Pro-Vice Chancellor who also emphasised that the future could be very positive for Barbados and the Caribbean in respect of this relationship and the Cave Hill Campus intended to be a critical enabler of this future.
Pointing out that Chinese trade in the region was in excess of US $10 billion, he said the bulk of it was importation from China and much more needed to be done with respect to exporting to China.
Sir Hilary noted that his Campus and the University of the West Indies were committed to building, for the private sector, long term mutually beneficial relations with China.
Adding that this would focus on aligning our interests with Chinese strategic outlook, he assured those gathered that countries would be assisted in better understanding Chinese culture at the macro and micro business levels.
???We will also assist Chinese investors in understanding the Barbadian and Caribbean investment cultures. We believe that Chinese investors for example can be encouraged to understand our industrial relations system, our laws and critically the role of good corporate governance. Good corporate citizenship will assist our Chinese investors in recognising the importance of investing in sports, education and culture,??? he added.
Acknowledging that the Centre for Chinese Studies marked the first of three centres which UWI has conceived, Sir Hilary said it would shortly be joined by a Centre for African studies and another for Brazilian studies.
The Confucius Institute is a partnership with the China University of Law and Political Science and will have two directors, one from each university. It will offer academic and professional training programmes and its focus will be on development cooperation.
In describing its design, the Principal of Cave Hill Campus said it was ???a classic creole concoction of the merger of Chinese architectural motifs with tropical Barbadiana???.