Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles has been elected by his peers across the international academic community to serve on the governing Council for the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). The announcement was made on July 29 in a statement from the ACU, naming the newest members of its governance body who will be responsible for overseeing the association’s activities and determining its future strategic direction. Vice-Chancellor Beckles’ appointment is for three years until August 2025.
The ACU is the world’s first and oldest international university network, established in 1913 to provide a forum for universities to share information, knowledge, and ideas.
This new leadership role for Vice-Chancellor Beckles follows his recent appointment by UNESCO in May this year, to serve on the Council of the United Nations University for a six-year term, as well as his recognition as UN Visionary Expert on Higher Education in 2021.
The ACU Council comprises Vice-Chancellors from across the Commonwealth, each of whom has been nominated and elected by their peers within the ACU membership network, and will also act as a Trustee for the association. The other new members elected to the Council include Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo from Covenant University, Nigeria; Professor Barney Glover AO from Western Sydney University, Australia; Senior Professor Sudantha Liyanage from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka, Professor Wendy Thomson CBE from University of London, UK and Professor Dato’ Ir Dr Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor from the University of Malaya.
Commenting on the appointment, Vice-Chancellor Beckles said, “It is indeed an honour to be invited to serve within the ACU, particularly in this capacity to impact its future strategic direction. The University of the West Indies has a legacy of partnership with the Association of Commonwealth Universities that we are proud to continue to nurture in this new dimension of service. This is also another opportunity to deepen my lifelong career engagement in higher education. I am grateful and humbled.”
Welcoming the newly elected Council members, Dr Joanna Newman, ACU Chief Executive, and Secretary General, said, “I am delighted to be welcoming five new members to the ACU’s Council today. Our Council represents the diversity and strength of Commonwealth cooperation and our Strategic Plan, The Road to 2030, makes the case for the role of Higher Education in addressing each of the 17 SDGs. I look forward to working closely with our Council members in our shared mission to build a better world through higher education.”
Chair of ACU Council, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, Professor Cheryl de la Rey, added, “A warm welcome to our newest members of the ACU Council, who join us as the world emerges from a period of unprecedented disruption. They bring with them a wealth of leadership experience and I look forward to sharing in their knowledge, drawing on our diverse communities, and working together to ensure the ACU continues to be a dynamic and exciting global network at the heart of international higher education – now and into the future.”