Disrupting the present to write and right the future of the Caribbean
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)’s video ‘Jump Caribbean’ presents a vision of what the Caribbean can look like in 2040. A climate-smart zone with burgeoning economies driven by technological innovations, clean energy, and a highly skilled workforce. An interconnected region where families live and work together in safe, healthy, happy, and prosperous communities. The presentation beckons, “Change is coming to the Caribbean…. we must write the future now”.
Universities are often perceived as institutions steeped in tradition and slow to change. Yet, academic and research institutions are pivotal to the thrust of the fourth industrial revolution. Research, innovation and their application lead to the creation of new products, technological solutions, more efficient services and new ways of thinking and working, which all serve as catalysts for economic growth, entrepreneurship, and social transformation. But in our quest for prosperity and progress as a region, we cannot ignore persistent challenges of inequality, exclusion, vulnerability and climate change. It is our duty, therefore, not only to write the future but also to ‘right the future’.
In contributing to shaping the future development trajectory of the Caribbean, universities will be expected to play an even greater role in providing thought leadership, technological innovation and data-driven solutions to development issues.
The IDB and The University of the West Indies (UWI) have taken strides to deepen their partnership in support of innovation-driven growth in the Caribbean. A team of UWI researchers and research leaders from The UWI’s campuses, regional research centers, and executive management team recently completed a study visit to MIT Media Lab and The Engine in Boston (July 9-10, 2018).