By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine
The vision of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana is simple: he wants to make the institution a dynamic, and nationally relevant world-class university. He also wants to do so in a hurry.
In June 2016 Pro- fessor Griffi th gave up lucrative offers in North America to re- turn to Guyana to serve as the Vice-Chancellor of the local university. He knew that the task would not be easy and upon inspection he was confronted with a system that needed to be fi xed with urgency. It is now six months since Professor Griffi th took over the reins at UG. What does his report card look like? What has been some of the notable achievements of his ad- ministration and how has the community reacted to his plans and goals for the university? It became evident in June 2016 that Professor Griffi th had a clear idea as to what he wanted for UG and how he should proceed to realize his vision. Under his lead- ership the fi rst Education Resource Ambassadors (ERA) Conference was held in Georgetown. The purpose was to in- vite professionals in the fi elds of academia, media, medicine, business, and other related fi elds to see the state of the university and to suggest possible solutions.
The ERA Conference turned out to be highly successful. There were over 100 participants, drawn from Guyana and the diaspora that ex- amined the state of the university, and suggested proposals to help rebuild it. Apart from paying their own travel ex- penses the partic- ipants raised over G$15million to the Vice-Chan- cellor’s Fund for Strategic Initia- tives. A people’s university should be able to dis- cuss the pressing problems of the day and to arrive at workable strat- egies to improve the welfare of the community. In July 2016 the Vice – Chancellor and his team launched Turkey- en and Tain Talks, the aim of which is to ‘discuss national, regional, and interna- tional issues and events of importance to Guy- ana.’ These forums have to date discussed BREXIT and its impact on Guyana and the Caribbean. The other topics have includ-ed suicide in Guyana, Agriculture and Food Security in Berbice, and the implication of the 2016 US elections for Guyana and the Western Hemisphere. The January 2017 forum will address Public Health in Guyana..