Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. February 9, 2018: The American Foundation for The University of West Indies (AFUWI) is set to host its Annual Awards Gala on Thursday 22 February, 2018. The black tie event which takes place at The Pierre hotel in New York City will bring together alumni and partners of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) to raise funds for scholarships, while honouring the achievements of six accomplished professionals with Caribbean roots. This year’s awards will also feature a special tribute to the Late Dr. Lowell Hawthorne, CD, LLD, (The UWI) former President & CEO, Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill and former Chairman of the AFUWI’s Board of Directors.
The annual gala and awards ceremony is the Foundation’s signature event. Now in its 21st year, proceeds from the event provide an average of 50 scholarships annually for students across The UWI’s four campuses. It is traditionally supported by captains of the diaspora and their counterparts and colleagues in North America and the Caribbean. Among the 2018 honourees include Patrick Hylton, CD, President & Group CEO of the NCB Financial Group, which under his leadership has become the largest and most profitable financial institution in Jamaica and the seventh most profitable in the English and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Mr. Hylton will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Business Leadership.
CCH Pounder, Guyanese-American actress, will receive the distinguished “Robert Nesta ‘Bob’ Marley Award”. Previous awardees include Danny Glover and Judith Jamison. Ms. Pounder has appeared in numerous TV series including ER, The Shield, Warehouse 13, Sons of Anarchy and in such films as Avatar, with a breakout role in Bagdad Café. She currently portrays medical examiner Dr. Loretta Wade on the series NCIS: New Orleans. Ms. Pounder has been nominated for a Grammy® Award and four Emmy® awards. An advocate for the arts, Ms. Pounder also serves on the Board of the African Millennium Foundation and was a founding member of Artists for a New South Africa.
Jamaica-born, Marlon James who won the Man Booker Prize in 2015—the first Jamaican author to win the United Kingdom’s most prestigious literary award—will receive “The Pinnacle Literary Award” and the “Pelican Award” reserved for UWI alumni. The holder of a degree in language and literature from The UWI and a Masters in creative writing from Wilkes University, Pennsylvania, USA, he teaches English and creative writing at Macalester College and continues to amass literary awards.
Designer and celebrity stylist, June Ambrose who was born in Antigua & Barbuda, will receive the “Women in Business Award”. Credited with creating the iconic images in hip hop for notables like Missy Elliott, P. Diddy, Mase, and Jay Z, Ambrose’s client list also includes Zoe Saldana, Mariah Carey, Kerry Washington, Ciara, Kelly Ripa, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys and many others. She has worked with Selima Optique on two lines of sunglasses and launched a signature line of footwear for HSN. She has also appeared on XFactor USA as a style expert, and on the VH1 Reality Show, “Styled by June”.
Receiving the “Vice Chancellor’s Achievement Award” will be Brooklyn-born Angela Yee, actress and host of the award-winning nationally syndicated radio programme The Breakfast Club on American radio station, Power 105.1. A recipient of several awards including a WEEN Mission Award and the “Shirley Chisolm Woman of Distinction” award, Yee donates a significant amount of her time to philanthropic efforts including “Coats for Kids” and “Dress for Success”, the “Makeover Your MS Foundation” and “Children Making Strides Against Pediatric Cancer”. She created “Angela Yee’s Book Club” in conjunction with Atria Books/Simon and Schuster to encourage her followers to read more and support authors with a story to tell. She appeared as herself in two episodes of the television series Empire and hosted the limited run of State Farm’s Color Full Lives podcast.
The “Caribbean Luminary Award” will be presented to Yvette Noel-Schure, Founder and Executive Vice-President of the Schure Media Group. The Grenadian-born celebrity publicist is at the helm of the company which represents top acts like Beyonce, Tina Knowles Lawson, LeAnn Rimes, Jussie Smollett and late night host Robin Thede, among others. A former Senior Vice-President of Media at Columbia Records/Sony Music for 17 years, she played a major role in the careers of a roster of diverse acts and was honoured by Billboard Magazine as one of the music industry’s “Six Topline Publicists”. Ms. Noel-Schure works closely with BeyGood, the initiative founded by Beyonce in 2013 to create programmes with partners to positively affect people all over the globe including a project in Haiti. She is part of a team working closely with UNICEF to aid the water crisis in Burundi, East Africa and has sponsored students attending the T.A. Marryshow Community College in her native Grenada.
The AFUWI Annual Awards Gala begins with a reception at 6:00 pm, followed by the dinner programme and a dessert party from 7:00 pm and an after party at 9:30 pm hosted by Gala Chair, Doug E Fresh. Individual tickets start at $500 USD and must be reserved by/before February 18, 2018. Tickets for the After Party only are $100 USD per person and offers a 2-hour full international open bar. To reserve or purchase tickets, and for further information, please call 1-212-759-9345 or visit http://www.afuwi.org.
A 501(c) (3) charitable organisation, the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) was established in 1956 to develop an endowment fund in the United States for The University of the West Indies (UWI). Today, its mission is to source and administer private donations, maximise philanthropic efforts, and develop strategic alliances with American corporations, foundations, alumni and other organisations, primarily to provide scholarships, support academic programmes and facilitate development projects at The UWI. The Foundation has more recently intensified its focus on supporting the University’s scholarship programme because of the urgent and increasing demand for financial aid from many in the student population who are talented, ambitious and determined to break the cycle of poverty, but face severe economic hardships. In addition, the Foundation also seeks to facilitate activities which promote the well-being and strengthening of the West Indian society through community service, research programmes and public service endeavours for the preservation/creation of a robust cultural and social legacy. Visit: www.afuwi.org.
About The UWI
Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website: www.uwi.edu
(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)