campus news

MOU with University of the West Indies to contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals

President Satish K. Tripathi and Sir Hilary Beckles, vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies, hold the memorandum of understanding they had just signed at a celebratory event at the president’s home.

President Satish K. Tripathi (right) with Hilary Beckles, vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies, after they signed a memorandum of understanding  on May 20 at the UB president’s home. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi


Published May 23, 2024

“With this memorandum of understanding between UB and UWI, we formalize our commitment to build upon our shared strengths, harness our disciplinary expertise and foster collaborations in service of the greater good. ”
President Satish K. Tripathi

President Satish K. Tripathi signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with leaders of the University of the West Indies (UWI) on May 20 to help achieve the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

The MOU, which connects UB with the five campuses in the Caribbean university system headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica, will foster collaborations between faculty and students, encourage more research and study abroad opportunities, and create a new shared graduate program.

Tripathi met with Hilary Beckles, UWI vice chancellor, and Audrey Marks, Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, on May 20 during their visit to UB and Western New York. Delegates from UWI, the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations, and university and community leaders helped celebrate the partnership.

“With this memorandum of understanding between UB and UWI, we formalize our commitment to build upon our shared strengths, harness our disciplinary expertise and foster collaborations in service of the greater good,” Tripathi said. “As we work together to foster global sustainability and resiliency, our endeavors will be that much more impactful by virtue of our shared contributions.”

The MOU follows a previous partnership formed between UWI and SUNY in 2013. One of the top goals was to create a SUNY-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development (CLSD) that would attract future global leaders and catalyze transformative research collaborations across SUNY and UWI campuses relevant to democratic participation, leadership and governance.

The focus was to find solutions to specific problems that are hindering individual countries from achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, explained Gene Morse, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, who also serves as an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI Mona Campus.

Morse was named executive director of the CLSD last fall, which helped create the pathway for the university-wide MOU. Morse also directs UB’s Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences (CIGBS), which will serve as the new UB home for CLSD.

“The mission of the CLSD remains focused on addressing the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and this MOU provides the roadmap to strengthen our partnership and pursue plans for a global leadership hub,” Beckles said. “The CLSD will assist countries to develop implementation plans through the research conducted by graduate students and their CLSD mentors, along with in-country business and government advisors.”

CLSD to be housed at UB

In 2024, the UWI International School for Development Justice was created with funding from the International Development Bank to establish a master’s program focused on training individuals who could, in turn, build a global workforce in pursuit of the 2030 goals.

The CLSD, which came to fruition in 2016, is currently housed in Empire State University, SUNY’s online institution. Plans are underway to transition CLSD to UB for the 2024-25 academic year. Once finalized, the CLSD will offer a new graduate program in sustainable development using UB and UWI Central as the operations centers for its programs.

“Students, regardless of location, who want to work toward sustainable development initiatives can participate in this graduate program,” Morse said. “We envision it having endless opportunities.”

In addition, he noted, the CLSD is the strategic center that will mobilize SUNY, UWI and other invited faculty to provide mentorship for the master’s candidates enrolled in the UWI International School for Development Justice, creating a solid research foundation to guide sustainable development projects around the globe.

Dignitaries from Jamaica and Buffalo outside the UB president's house.

A slate of dignitaries from Jamaica and Buffalo gather at the home of President Satish K. Tripathi on May 20 to celebrate the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the University of the West Indies. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

Potential CLDS growth at UB and UWI

CLSD will continue to be the organizational home for the SUNY-UWI Health Research Consortium and will maximize the SUNY-UWI faculty collaborations that have led to the emergence of many new leaders and will leverage funded grants to grow the financial foundation for CLSD.

Recent program development efforts include planning for a UWI School of Public Health, focusing on the intersecting issues of climate change, alternative energy and agricultural innovation. Many of these collaborations also have natural interactions with business development and new economic development, Morse noted.

“We also anticipate that both institutions will benefit from this partnership by becoming more competitive for funding, which can lead to job creation through sustainable development initiatives in the future,” Morse said. “I view the collaboration as leveraging our wealth of core facilities and resources at UB and SUNY to help low- and middle-income countries grow and become more economically independent.”