St Vincent PM awarded honorary doctorate from University of Wales

October 06, 2022 in Regional

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) conferred an Honorary Doctor of Law to Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves at a special ceremony recently.

The Vincentian Prime Minister at the time was visiting the campus in Lampeter where he met students from the Caribbean islands who had received a scholarship to study at the University.

The scholarship scheme was agreed by Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor of UWTSD as a result of discussions with His Majesty the King (then HRH The Prince of Wales, the University’s Royal Patron), following the Volcano eruption on St Vincent in April 2021.

The 37 students are based at the Lampeter campus and are studying a range of programmes identified by their government as being beneficial to the future development of their country. These include History, International Development and Global Politics as well as Early Childhood Education, Quantity Surveying and Civil Engineering.

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, to the University to be conferred an Honorary Doctor of Law.

“This is his first visit to the University since we launched the scholarship scheme which provides opportunities for students to study programmes that will help build capacity and infrastructure in the islands following the volcano eruption in 2021. Dr Gonsalves is a visionary leader and is a strong voice for his country on a global stage. He is a passionate advocate for sustainable development, prosperity, peace, and security. We are honoured to welcome him to the University and to Wales.”

In his address to the congregation, Gwilym Dyfri Jones, Provost of the Lampeter and Carmarthen campuses said: “It is my great honour and privilege to present Dr Ralph Gonsalves, to receive the degree of Doctor of Law.

“It has been quite a week for Dr Gonsalves. On Saturday he addressed the 77th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York and today, he is here in Lampeter in the heart of Wales.

“During his address to the General Assembly, Dr Gonsalves emphasised that St Vincent and the Grenadines is committed to reconditioning the traditional narratives on security by bringing to the fore the particular vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States. As such, St Vincent and the Grenadines continues to work tirelessly towards addressing the unique plight of such states, especially as it relates to the nuanced and unprecedented challenges posed by climate change.

He concluded his address by emphasising the importance of continued partnership between all nations to ‘take care of yesterday’s heritage, to accommodate and reasonably address today’s interests, and to pursue effectively, in peace and security, tomorrow’s hopes’.”

On receiving his award Dr Gonsalves said: “I want to thank the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and King Charles for their kindness and their generosity. The highest form of solidarity is he or she who gives from the little they possess, and you have given from your university a great deal from the little you possess”.

“The students from all the reports are all doing very well, and I’m very proud of them. I have confidence in them, and I’m pleased that they are excellent ambassadors for St Vincent and the Grenadines. These students will return to St Vincent and the Grenadines at the conclusion of their studies, and will contribute further to the country’s development.

“This is a very touching moment for me, but this is just not about Ralph, because whatever we have accomplished, it’s been accomplished in communion with our people, and this honour belongs to them – I am simply the medium of their extraordinary achievements especially in the field of education.”

Before departing Wales, Dr Gonsalves visited y Senedd where he met with Julie James, MS, Minister for Climate Change and Vaughan Gething, MS, Minister for Economy.