The American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) since its establishment has positively impacted the lives of many Caribbean nationals. This has been made possible through the kind contributions and financial support of numerous individuals and corporations who are committed to nation building through education. Patrons attending this year’s gala at The Pierre in New York City heard from a number of scholarship recipients how the scholarships have impacted their lives.
Sandrea Clarke, a recipient of the 2013 Link Up Media Group Scholarship and now an employee of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), the news agency of the Government of Jamaica, spoke via video message about the impact the scholarship has had on her development. In her taped message, she noted that on receiving the call, she was shocked, as having applied for scholarships for three years and being unsuccessful, she lost hope and confidence. “When I got this scholarship, I got my confidence back and I felt that I can do things, I can achieve things and as such my final year at UWI was my best year. I graduated top of my class, with a First Class Honors from CARIMAC,” noted Ms. Clarke.
Now in its 19th year, the annual event, organized under the auspices of Honorary Patron, Dr. The Hon. Harry Belafonte, O.J., seeks to raise funds for the University of the West Indies (UWI), the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean.
This year’s honorees spanned a wide range of fields from music to medicine to philanthropy. Dr. Harold Freeman, CEO, President & Founder of the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute in New York and Professor Emeritus of Surgery at Colombia University received the “AFUWI Lifetime Achievement Award”. Trinidad & Tobago’s Machel Montano, acclaimed soca artiste and entertainer was presented with the AFUWI “Bob Marley Award” and healthcare executive Daphne Jones, Chief Information Officer GE Healthcare Global Services, received the “Caribbean Luminary Award”.
Among the other distinguished honorees was Larry Miller, President, Jordan Brand, a division of Nike Inc., who received the “AFUWI Trailblazer Award”; Phillip Gore and Christine Gore, both Directors of the Jamaica-based Phillip & Christine Gore Family Foundation, recipients of the “AFUWI Vice Chancellor’s Achievement Award”, while Tirrell Whittley, CEO & Principal of Liquid Soul accepted the “AFUWI Corporate Award”.
This year’s event received strong support from a number of celebrities who were in attendance including former ESSENCE editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor and her husband, screenwriter Khephra Burns; actor and activist Danny Glover, entertainer Doug E. Fresh and Lloyd Williams, President and CEO of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce. WCBS News Anchor Maurice Du Bois, NBC 4 reporter Checkey Beckford and Dahved Levy of WBLS shared the duties as emcees for the evening.