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(BARBADOS TODAY) — Graduates of the University of West Indies Cave Hill campus were on Saturday reminded of their responsibility to develop their island states and the Caribbean.
Chancellor Robert Bermudez was speaking during the graduation ceremony held Saturday morning for the Faculties of Humanities & Education, Science and Technology, Law and Medical Sciences.
The head of the UWI indicated that due to a technological revolution, numerous channels and careers are accessible to graduates.
He said the 2017/2018 graduates should not limit themselves to their islands and the region but seek opportunities elsewhere.
However, Bermudez encouraged the students to collectively seek to address issues affecting the region and spearhead innovative thinking.
“As island nations we are at the forefront of the global warming crisis, many of us see first-hand its devastating effect on our communities. We must take this as a personal challenge. It is easy to believe that one person can make a large difference but this is not true, if we get involved we will collectively make an immense difference,” he said.
“We need to support every effort to develop and install alternative energy, something that is particularly suited to our region. We must ensure that we do not pollute our sea and the food source.”
Bermudez urged the graduates to not only preserve the Caribbean’s natural beauty and environment, but to create new industries and technologies that could lead to further growth.
The Chancellor also encouraged the graduates to explore opportunities outside of their fields of study, noting that their starting point will not be their final destination.
“Do not allow yourself to be boxed in the field which you studied your degree, let that be your starting point, maintain a high degree of curiosity in everything and everyone, opportunity often stares us in the face and we fail to recognize it. Sometimes it is packaged differently to what we were expecting.”
Meanwhile, valedictorian, Jamaican Kai Bridgewater, called for greater regional integration among the island states, not only in times of devastation and natural disaster.
“To truly give life to the concept of regionalism, we need to move pass this place where CARICOM operates like a distant family, you don’t see them unless there’s drama or a funeral . . . imagine a region where there are high levels of cooperation all the time, where we treat our Caribbean brothers and sisters equally including those who may speak French. We are the generation to make this happen,” said Bridgewater.
“I am convinced that despite our difference we are stronger together than apart . . . this is why we need to encourage the movement of students across the region. Such movement should never be threatened of curtailed by the imposition of student visas especially at a cost to the student.”