Thursday, March 8, 2012

UWI Annual Benefit Gala

Canadian Industry Leaders Celebrate with Malcolm Gladwell, Artis Lane and Zanana Akande at the UWI Annual Benefit Gala in Toronto this Saturday
Gala Proceeds Benefit the UWI Scholarship Fund and the UWI Haitian Initiative
Rachel Pardy, Cahoots Communications Inc. 

Zanana Akande  2009
TORONTO (March 6, 2012) - This Saturday, March 10th at the Four Seasons Hotel, The University of the West Indies (UWI) Third Annual Benefit Gala in Toronto gathers renowned achievers and industry leaders to celebrate the contributions and achievements of UWI Alumni and the Greater Caribbean community in Canada and worldwide.  The UWI Gala proceeds will go to the UWI Scholarship Fund and the UWI Haitian Initiative that lends support to re-rebuild the tertiary education sector in Haiti and assist university students who need to complete their degree programmes. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who is the recipient of an honourary degree from the University of the West Indies, supports the UWI Gala while recognizing the challenges that many students in the Caribbean and Haiti face and says, “I celebrate the achievements of these young people that must be applauded, achievements which are deserving, achievements for efforts that will continue to reap success despite challenging circumstances.”

The UWI Annual Benefit Gala has become a highly anticipated event on Toronto’s social calendar.  Masters of Ceremonies for this year’s event are Suhana Meharchand, award winning journalist and host of CBC-TV News Now, and Hamlin Grange, award-winning journalist and diversity consultant.   At the event, award-winning author, Malcolm Gladwell, internationally renowned artist, Artis Lane and Canada’s first female black cabinet minister, Zanana Akande will receive Luminary Awards for being outstanding achievers and for shedding light on issues which affect the Caribbean.

In response to his award from UWI, Malcolm Gladwell says, “It is an honour to receive this award from UWI. The calibre and diversity of their programs, affiliations and alumni show that they deliver on the multidisciplinary approach that is necessary in today's complex world." 

In addition to the Luminary Award Recipients, the UWI Gala will also honour six outstanding community and sector leaders with the Vice Chancellor’s Award; namely: Dr. Pamela Da Camaramedical pioneer; Dr. Anthony MacFarlanecultural philanthropist; Mr. Lloyd SeivrightCharity founder; Mr. Howard ShearerPresident and CEO of Hitachi Canada Ltd.; Mr. Suresh SookooCEO, Caribbean Banking, RBC, and Mr. Frank Walwyn, Partner at WeirFoulds LLP, who was recently recognized as one of the best lawyers in Canada.  

The University Health Network, which includes Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, is also being honoured with the Chancellor’s Award as an outstanding institution that facilitates post-graduate training for a number of UWI medical students in Canada, and for providing exceptional care to its communities.  

Ryerson Chancellor G. Raymond Chang is an honourary UWI Graduate and Patron of the (UWI) Benefit Gala.  He says, “We are privileged to have with us at the UWI Gala, our esteemed honourees, and to recognize their leadership, inspiration, and the lessons they offer to all of us now and the next generations."
With such a strong Caribbean community in Toronto and Canada, UWI has initiated a successful Annual Benefit Gala that will continue to strengthen the relationship between Canada and the Caribbean for years to come.  Previous honourees include Donovan Bailey, Michael Lee-Chin, The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, The Honourable Justice Dr. Irving André, Keith L. Forde, Kamala-Jean Gopie, Dr. Karl Massiah and Dr. John Stewart. 

Last year, $300,000 was raised at the Gala, resulting in 23 scholarships for exemplary UWI students who could otherwise not have afforded their education.  This year’s event, which is close to being sold out, is on track to raise more while boasting silent auction items such as a Mercedes Benz, Howard Moo Young’s famous drawings of Bob Marley and art by such world renowned artists as Barrington Watson and Albert Huie to name a few.

The University of the West Indies (UWI) was established in 1948 as a college of the University of London.  It achieved full university status in 1962 and today, is the only pan-Caribbean tertiary level institution offering a wide array of diverse and accredited programs to 40,000 students throughout the region, with campuses in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean.  UWI is an international university in every respect with links extending beyond the Caribbean to well over 100 universities worldwide through: collaborative research involving postgraduate students and faculty; study abroad and exchange programmes; cross-campus degree programmes; lecture series and conferences.

The 3rd Annual UWI Benefit Gala would not be possible without the generous contributions of our valued  sponsors: Lead sponsor, Scotiabank; Diamond Sponsor, CGX Energy; Platinum Sponsor, Guyana Goldfields; Gold Sponsors: GraceKennedy (Ontario), Royal Bank of Canada –International Banking, Hitachi Canada Ltd., Maple Leaf Foods, University Health Network – Cardiology; Silver Sponsors: Brookfield Asset Management Ltd., Cisco Systems Canada, Wilfrid Laurier University, Sandspring Resources, Ryerson – University Advancement, George Brown College Foundation, Portland Holdings; Bronze Sponsors: Ryerson - G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, CI Financial, CAMH, Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, NHI Nursing & Homemakers Ltd., WierFoulds LLP, University Health Network – Centre of Excellence for Education and Practice, CAE Healthcare, University Health Network , University Health Network Foundation, Toronto Dominion Bank, and the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers.

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