UWI launches Faculty of Sport
Posted in: Regional News | 28 July 2017 | 284
“If there's one industry that we can develop right now to diversify our economies and make our economies competitive, it is to build a sporting industry in our region.”
The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles made the statement at the official launch of The University's Faculty of Sport on Wednesday at The UWI Regional Headquarters in Jamaica.
Vice-Chancellor Beckles referenced a report which assessed the global sport industry to be valued at an estimated US$145 billion and growing at a rate of 4.5 per cent per year.
“We in the Caribbean are not getting our just share…the world looks upon us to produce excellence but we are not getting our share of the revenue,” he said. “This is something that we must now take very seriously. This sporting industry is the place of the greatest convergence in the global economy. It's the place where all the industries are interconnected...We're hoping that our faculty will do all the relevant research, teaching and learning to participate in that conversation with our investors, our entrepreneurs, our public sector, our global manufacturers to enable that focus to take place here in the Caribbean space that is so rich in sporting talent.”
The launch marked an historic occasion for the University as the Faculty of Sport is the first to be established at the UWI in 40 years.
The University Council approved its recommendation in April this year and it becomes operational in the 2017-2018 academic year. The new faculty consolidates under a “One UWI” umbrella of knowledge, sport programmes offered across all four campuses.
In his remarks, newly appointed Dean, Dr Akshai Mansingh, who will lead the Faculty of Sport, said: “For too long sport has been a past-time for the region. We really don't have the superstar culture, even though our first superstar walked onto the field in 1930 when George Headley made his Test debut.” He added: “The creation of the Faculty of Sport gives an opportunity to bring together all of the creative and scientific minds of the region, while harnessing leaders in all aspects of sports from throughout the world to offer the support to the athletes, many of whom have chosen to make this region their home to perfect their skills. But the Faculty of Sport doesn't only cater to those who play sports, but also to those who play at sports. Creative academic minds with interest in anything to do with sports will have the opportunity to pursue their research, and practitioners such as coaches, sports and conditioning experts, sports physiotherapists etc., will also find a forum in this faculty as well.”
Although the launch was hosted in Jamaica, each campus participated via video conferencing, delivering remarks virtually from their remote locations.
Deputy Principal of the St Augustine Campus, Professor Rhoda Reddock also delivered remarks virtually, on behalf of Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Brian Copeland. “This campus is very excited about this addition to our already robust programme offerings. We can only anticipate the development that this will mean not only for our campus and The UWI, but for our wider region as a whole,” she stated. Reddock added: “At St Augustine, we are already proud of some of the achievements of our student athletes like Jehue Gordon, our world champion (athletics) who graduated with first class honours from the sports management programme of the Faculty of Social Sciences. More recently, Paralympian, Nyoshia Cain got another bronze medal at the World Paralympics Athletics Championships in London. We know that this development will allow us to better serve our student athletes to achieve the academic and sporting success that they deserve and desire.”
Scores of members of the public and private sectors attended the celebrated event in Jamaica; as well as participated via live-stream viewing, with several endorsements also coming from heads of government, the regional business community, athletes and other well-wishers across the region including Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness and new UWI Chancellor, Robert Bermudez.
In a written statement, Prime Minister Holness noted that, “sports certainly unites us as a people. This is another signal move in the integration process especially by having the Faculty of Sport at campuses across the region. In years to come I believe sports will be an even greater contributor, not only to our unity and pride as a people, but an even greater source of foreign direct investment, employment generation and greater development.”
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