Audrey Marks is encouraging The University of the West Indies (UWI) to build more relationships with other tertiary institutions in the United States.
She pointed to the significance of students embracing opportunities to pursue international learning experiences.
“It is critical that every degree programme at UWI start to integrate an international component for our students. It is said that a mind, once expanded, could never regain its normal dimension, and nothing expands the mind faster than learning in a different and more successful economic environment,” Marks, who is Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, said in her address to The UWI’s graduating class of 2023 on November 3 after being presented with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD).
“I have been working on developing relationships with various colleges and universities across the US, seeking to establish a year or a term abroad exchange programme between those entities and The University of the West Indies,” she added.
In May last year, Marks had facilitated discussions between officials of The UWI and America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) on exchange programmes and scholarships for students at The UWI, Mona, and HBCUs.
The idea of the exchange programmes was for students to have reciprocal stays of a semester, a year, or two years at the participating universities while completing their degree programmes.
The framework for the collaboration was laid following a series of meetings organised by Ambassador Marks between The UWI and several HBCU institutions in Washington, DC.
On Thursday, during her address, Marks took the opportunity to inspire graduates, encouraging them to transform adverse circumstances into opportunities, while underscoring the significance of avoiding complaints in the face of challenges.
“Always remember that you can rise from any situation, think about how you can turn that situation into an opportunity and always seek to find the opportunity within the circumstance,” she said.
Marks was among the five honorary graduands recognised at this year’s 75th anniversary graduation ceremony held over two days at Mona. The others were Lascelles Chin, who was posthumously awarded the honorary Doctor of Laws; Rachel Manley, Doctor of Letters (DLitt); Professor Dale Abel, Doctor of Science (DSc); and reggae music veteran Hugh Beresford Hammond, Doctor of Letters (DLitt).