The Chancellor’s medal is a special award of distinction made by the UWI Chancellor to a person who has made a substantial and lasting contribution to the welfare and development of the University of the West Indies, or has enabled the University to access significant resources for the achievement of its mission of unlocking the region’s potential through delivering quality higher education through teaching, outreach, service and research.
Previous awardees have been Sir Philip Sherlock, Sir Alister McIntyre, The Most Honourable P. J. Patterson and most recently, Vice-Chancellor Emeritus, the late Professor Rex Nettleford who received the award in November, 2009 – three months before his passing.
Sir Shridath is the quintessential Caribbean person and is widely regarded as the Caribbean’s leading statesman. Born and raised in Guyana, he received his higher education at London and Harvard Universities and was independent Guyana’s first Attorney General and later Minister of Foreign Affairs and Justice. As Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, he played a prominent role in supporting the struggle for freedom in southern Africa and in promoting a New International Economic Order, more favourable to the needs of developing countries and the world’s poor.
He has been a much sought-after negotiator, serving on several independent, international commissions convened to consider many of the major issues facing the global community; covering international development, disarmament and security, environment and sustainable development, and humanitarian crises. Sir Shridath chaired the West Indies Commission, set up in the early 1990s to point the way forward for West Indies integration and he was later appointed Chief Negotiator for CARICOM on international economic negotiations with Europe, the Americas and globally. He also headed legal teams arbitrating maritime border disputes between Guyana and Suriname and between Belize and Guatemala.
Sir Shridath has received many accolades, including the conferral of honorary doctorates from many universities all over the world and awards from several national governments and international organisations, among them the prized Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC) in 1992 and in 2002, the Government of India awarded him the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development. He received a knighthood from Her Majesty, The Queen, in 1970.