The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Open Campus has signed an agreement with UNESCO to collaborate on its Transcultura Programme: Integrating Cuba, Caribbean and The European Union through Culture and Creativity.
A release from the office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal said the programme which aims to harness diversity and build bridges between people and cultures from different linguistic areas, is being implemented by UNESCO and funded by the European Union.
The programme will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will focus on improving the skills and capacities of young cultural professionals, while the second phase will focus on expanding opportunities through knowledge transfer and exchanges. These activities will be accomplished through the establishment of a regional Cultural Training Hub in Cuba that will be linked to relevant Caribbean institutions. The programme will foster entrepreneurship, socio-economic projects, and collaboration in the cultural and creative sectors, heritage, and tourism throughout the Caribbean Region and within the EU.
Prospects from 17 CARICOM countries – Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Montserrat, Dominican Republic and Cuba – will be targeted for this programme.
Dr Francis O. Severin, Principal (Interim) of the Open Campus, is gratified by this development. According to him, “The Open Campus continues to demonstrate its Pan-Caribbean commitment and thrust, as well as its sensibility of inclusivity which this initiative so elegantly operationalizes.”
He [added] “This is what I call authentic cultural activism.”
Alessandra Borchi, Transcultura Programme Co-ordinator, UNESCO, stated: “We are pleased to partner with The University of the West Indies on this pioneering initiative. This is fully in line with Transcultura’s strategic objective to support the professionalization of the cultural and creative sectors in the region, while in parallel empowering youth.”
The programme will comprise of selected courses from the Open Campus Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) offerings, such as modules in Small Business Management; Effective Management and Leadership; Project Management; Finance for Non-Finance Managers; Introduction to Small Business/Entrepreneurship; Effective Business Communication;
Financial Monitoring and Evaluation; Sales and Marketing Management; Brand Management; and Grant Proposal Writing which will be offered in both phases of the programme;
The first phase commences in September 2021 and the second phase in January 2022. The expected number of beneficiaries will be approximately 330. The programme will also include a Blended Teacher Training course which will expose 180 Cuban and Caribbean professors to a variety of learner experiences that incorporate the use of technology.
Anneshia Welsh, Head, Business Development Unit and The UWI representative who led in conceptualising this initiative said: “It is our pleasure to implement the Transcultura Programme in partnership with UNESCO. We hope that this programme will strengthen the relationship between Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean, therefore enhancing the process of regional integration.”
“The UWI Open Campus is proud to announce this collaboration with UNESCO which aligns seamlessly with The UWI’s Mission Statement, ‘to advance learning, create knowledge and foster innovation for the positive transformation of the Caribbean and the wider world.’ The Transcultura Programme will bring together creative abilities which will lead to cross cultural fertilisation for all those involved,” Welsh added.
This programme is supported via scholarships and will be implemented over one year. It will be offered through the Open Campus blended learning modality using synchronous and asynchronous delivery.