PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Thursday March 10, 2016 – Soca star Machel Montano has hailed the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) 2016 Bob Marley Award given to him as “a dream come true”.
Montano, who has been performing since the age of seven and has produced 42 albums over a 33-year career, was among awardees at the recent AFUWI 19th Annual Legacy Awards Gala in New York. The event which was held under the auspices of honorary patron, Dr Harry Belafonte, raises funds for The UWI.
AFUWI Awards are conferred on notable individuals or entities that represent high levels of achievement in their respective fields of industries, enterprise and service in their communities.
Noting that he wanted to study at The UWI but instead went to “the University of Hard Knocks, traveling the world in pursuit of a career in music”, Montano said that receiving the AFUWI Bob Marley Award “feels like my graduation”.
In his acceptance speech, Montano thanked the AFUWI for honoring him and God for the privilege of a talent that has allowed him to achieve so much. He added that he was very grateful for where music had taken him. He looked up to the example of Trinbagonian calypsonians like the Mighty Sparrow and Lord Kitchener and others including Harry Belafonte and Bob Marley.
UWI Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, described the event as “a celebration of excellence and access to The UWI”.
Pointing to England’s Oxford University which claims to have produced 60 Prime Ministers, Sir Hilary said The UWI also had a proud legacy and “is the only university that could boast seven Prime Ministers sitting at one time”.
Vice-Chancellor Beckles used the opportunity to point out that The UWI has “gone global” with the establishment of a UWI China Institute for Information Technology in China.
He told gala guests that The UWI is partnering with a number of other distinguished academic institutions including the State University of New York (SUNY) where both institutions have developed a Centre for Sustainable Development.
AFUWI Chairman, Lowell Hawthorne, thanked awardees and guests at the gala for their contributions: “It will change the lives of so many young people by providing a pathway to progress.”
Other awardees at the AFUWI 2016 Gala included Dr Harold Freeman, CEO, President and Founder of the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute in New York and Professor Emeritus of Surgery at Columbia University, who received the AFUWI Lifetime Achievement Award; Daphne Jones, Chief Information Officer at GE Healthcare Global Services, who received the Caribbean Luminary Award; and Larry Miller, President of the Jordan Brand, a division of Nike Inc., who was presented with the Trailblazer Award.
Directors of the Phillip & Christine Gore Family Foundation, Phillip Gore and Christine Gore, both received the Vice-Chancellor’s Achievement Award; and Tirrell Whittley, Liquid Soul’s CEO and Principal, received the AFUWI Corporate Award.