Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is the Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies. Before assuming this office on May 1, 2015, he served the university as Professor of Economic History, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Undergraduate Studies, and Principal of its Cave Hill Campus in Barbados for thirteen years (2002-15).
Sir Hilary has had a distinguished career as an academic, international thought leader, United Nations committee official, and global public activist in the field of social justice and minority empowerment.
He joined The University of the West Indies in 1979 after completing doctorial studies at the University of Hull. In short time, as a result of a distinguished record of published research, he was promoted to the rank of Reader and at the age of 36 became the university’s youngest scholar to be promoted to a personal chair.
Sir Hilary has had widespread Caribbean and global recognition for his academic achievements and leadership expertise. He serves on many United Nations Committees and Advisory panels. He was called upon by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to serve as an inaugural member of his Science Advisory Board on Sustainable Development. He also served as an advisor to UNESCO’s Cities for Peace Global Program, and was an advisor to the UN World Culture Report. For many years he was a lead conceptualizer of UNESCO’s Slave Route Project, and currently serves as its Vice President. He is also a member of UNDP’s Advisory Panel on the Caribbean Human Development Report.
As Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies he conceptualized and guides its internationalization agenda. There is now the UWI-SUNY Centre for Leadership and Sustainable Development, based in New York; The UWI–University of Lagos Institute for African and Diaspora Studies, in Lagos; and the UWI- Global Institute for Software Technology, in Suzhou, China. Under development is the UWI/ University of Johannesburg Institute for Global Africa.