Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 4th 2015 Contents 18 UWI TODAY – SUNDAY 4TH OCTOBER, 2015
Our Journey to Seggau
A student’s story of 22 days that changed her
BY NETTY-ANN GORDON
It is often said that a journey of a thousand miles begins
with a single step. Organizing this 22-day transcontinental
European trip was no easy task. The University of Graz
International Summer School 2015 held in Seggau, Austria
was the main destination in a series of international
symposia attended by the Trinidad and Tobago team. It
took an experienced navigator and a coordinated team for
Seggau to become a reality.
The University of Graz International Summer School
celebrated its 10th anniversary in July 2015. The summer
school attracts interdisciplinary students from universities
across the globe. This year’s programme ran from June 28 to
July 11, attracting 82 students from 31 countries. Our team
of nine was the second largest; the USA had 12 participants.
The UWI European Academic tour led by Dr.
Christian Cwik, sought to forge academic partnerships
between European universities and The UWI. At the close
of the International Symposium in Germany in July, UWI
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal, Professor
Clement Sankat visited the University of Cologne to initiate
negotiations on an agreement between the two universities.
Similarly, a MOU with the University of Graz is in progress
and in June 2015, the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities
and Education, Dr. Heather Cateau signed a MOU with the
Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies at the University
of Vienna in Austria.
This year marks a milestone for institutions and events
as we joined the University of Graz on its anniversary;
celebrated with the University of Vienna on its 650th
anniversary and paid tribute to the fallen heroes on the
occasion of the 70th anniversary of World War II with the
University of Cologne in Germany.
Looking back at World War II which lasted from 1939
to 1945, we focused on the impositions and consequential
activities for the Caribbean islands as the parallel search
for meaning continues. This historical discourse may be
described at face value as callous and unwarranted but
there is still room for the reassessment of what it meant,
and what it cost the Caribbean – for the legacy of this war
is not completely understood.
History is not the past nor dwells in the past. The
historical links between Europe and the Caribbean cannot
be fully explored from one location or cultural context. To
appreciate where the veins of our history lie, there must be
a collaboration of resources and the exchange of knowledge.
The International Symposium in Cologne kicked off the
first leg of the academic tour. Austrian-born, Dr. Christian
Cwik, introduced the topic “German and Austrian Refugees
in French and Dutch Colonies during the period 1933 to
We appreciated the riveting presentation by Dr. Michael
Toussaint in his noted Trini homily style. His discourse on
“Nationalism and the Nationalist Movement in Trinidad and
Tobago,” initiated a renewed passion for Caribbean history
for persons who were into other disciplines.
The two-day symposium in Cologne culminated with
presentations from UWI students. Allyce Woodhouse
Outside the Main Entrance of the University of Vienna, from left: Marianne Knieling MA (PhD Student, visited UWI in March 2015); Rosa
Hannreich MA (PhD Student, visited UWI in 2007, 2011); Dr. Michael Ferguson Toussaint (Lecturer at the Department of History, STA);
Roman Schloegl (Undergraduate History Student, visited UWI in March 2015); Renate Korotwiczka (PhD Student, visited UWI in March
2015), and Dr. Christian Cwik (Lecturer at the Department of History, STA). PHOTOS COURTESY NETTY-ANN GORDON.
presented on “The growth and expansion of the Trinidad and
Tobago Cadet Force,” My presentation was on “Persecution
under martial law in the British Caribbean during World
War II,” and Renee Nelson concluded with “The Gibraltar
Camp at Mona, Jamaica: the biggest internment camp in the
Caribbean.” Genette-Amlak Pascall, President of the History
Society, moderated day two of the symposium.
After Cologne, the team visited the University of Vienna
to deliver more lectures in European and Caribbean History.
In attendance were students who had previously visited
UWI and participated in history courses and regional
expeditions. The Vienna series concluded on the eve of
our return to Trinidad on July 11 with a presentation by
Dr. Toussaint on “Black Power in Europe, 1920-1950.” He
traced the evolution of the movement and highlighted the
consequences of their actions and contribution to university
life as we know it today.
Nestled in the lush Styria country region, Seggau
Castle is the home of the Graz International Summer
School, which is primarily sponsored by the Karl-Franzens-
Universitat Graz, University of Graz with support from the
Center for Inter-American Studies and other corporate
and government sponsors. The academic programme was
an intensive two weeks module with morning lectures and
afternoon seminars. It included a science slam competition,
poster presentations and sightseeing tours. Students had
the opportunity to present their countries in a five-minute
time slot, and were also invited to participate in karaoke/
talent night. The Trinidad and Tobago team made a good
impression when Tyronne Ali captured the Best Country
Presentation Ever, delivering a stimulating comical display
with “Island Kokomo” which became the ‘Capital’ of Seggau
and whose theme song became its ‘national anthem.’ Renee’s
Jamaica presentation resulted in cheers of “Big-up Bob
Drs. Cwik and Toussaint presented on “Shifting
Perspective – Europe and the Americas,” challenging the
colloquial ideology of everyone present.
Some of us left Trinidad as young ladies and returned
as empowered women. Some of us thought we could hide in
our introverted shells but ended up befriending many. Some
who were afraid to lead, led the way. We made some poor
decisions; underestimated the required readings; and even
grew weary of the intensity of the academic programme.
Nevertheless, we stuck it out; we stood together; we made
friends; we had a good time, and yes, we came back home
edified, rejuvenated, and broke. But the joys of shopping,
the vibrations of the music on graduation night and the sites
of romantic Vienna, have etched a monumental experience
which our certificates of achievement cannot fully express.
To all the sponsors, organizers, administrators, we thank
Netty-Ann Gordon was one of the students participating in the tour.
Seggau Castle, home of the Graz International Summer School.
SUNDAY 4TH OCTOBER, 2015 – UWI TODAY 7
At the end of August 2015, the University of Guyana
(UG) launched its Institute for Gender Studies
after two years of collaboration. This involved York
University’s Kamala Kempadoo, coordinator of the
Inter-Guiana-Canada women’s and gender studies
exchange, academics at the University of Guyana,
activists from Guyana’s Women and Gender Equality
Commission, officials from the Ministry of Social
Protection, and The UWI Institute for Gender and
Professor Verene Shepherd, Regional Director of
the IGDS, and Dr. Gabrielle Hosein, Lecturer at the St.
Augustine Unit, also delivered comments at the launch.
Professor Shepherd and UG Vice-Chancellor Jacob
It is widely accepted that the West Indian institutions
of cricket and The UWI do for unification of the Anglo-
Caribbean what politics and economic agendas have failed
to do. It’s no surprise then to hear rhetoric of ‘reconnection’
with Guyana coming from the St. Augustine Campus
Principal. The conduit being, naturally, UWI programmes
and with the right environmental forces at work currently,
a.k.a. opportunity, a clear strategy in mind, a.k.a. as
preparedness, he may find success, a.k.a. luck.
In a recent interview on this theme of reconnection
with Guyana, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal,
Professor Clement Sankat, acknowledged past efforts.
In particular, he acknowledged the connection efforts of
former UWI Chancellor, Sir Shridath Ramphal – both sons
of the Guyanese soil, in The UWI’s offering of programmes
at the master’s level in Project Management, Construction
Management and International Relations in Guyana. Adding
the Lok Jack’s Business School offering of an International
MBA, and the recent signing of an MoU by UWI’s Institute
for Gender Studies at the University of Guyana (now headed
by the former UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel
Harris), one can fairly say that the road has been smoothly
paved for now – ‘reconnection’ on a national level – as is the
essential vision and strategy of Professor Sankat.
While here for a ceremony for The UWI St. Augustine’s
new South Campus in Penal-Debe, President of the
Cooperative Republic of Guyana, David Granger spoke of
an interest in the reintegration of Guyana into The UWI
system. Subsequently, there was an invitation from the
Minister of Education of Guyana, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine
for representatives of The UWI to visit Guyana to meet
with relevant technical experts and create a plan of action
for building a capacity in Guyana for graduates particularly
in the fields of Petroleum Engineering and Petroleum
Geoscience. A UWI team met with Prime Minister of
Guyana, Moses Nagamootoo on August 13, 2015.
Prime Minister Nagamootoo indicated his support
for quick movements given the current status of Guyana’s
investment in its energy sector. In Georgetown, the team
also met with the Minister of Education, Chief Education
Officer and representatives from the Ministry of Natural
Resources and the Environment. A proposal was put
forward by The UWI team, stating that The UWI offers
its master’s programmes in Petroleum Engineering on the
ground in Georgetown, from January 2016.
IGDS at UG
To Guyana via the
BY REBECCA ROBINSON
The proposed duration of the programmes is two years
with 18 months of classes delivered both “face-to-face” and
using distance technology followed by a six-month capstone
internship where students would spend this time assigned at
an energy company in T&T. In addition to strengthening the
knowledge, understanding and awareness of the students,
the expansion would help build bridges between the
petroleum industries in T&T and Guyana. Discussions were
also held about the possibilities for conducting executive
education and short courses for technical skills development
along with a wider suite of graduate programmes that would
be delivered in Guyana to support the high level professional
Professor Sankat explained that while the conduit is
the UWI-structured programmes, his vision is for more
of an equal and simultaneously wider nation-to-nation
exchange. That is to say, while Guyanese capacity is being
developed on the mature expertise of TT petroleum
exploration, Trinbagonian capacities can be developed on
the experienced Guyanese know-how in the areas of natural
resource management, urban and rural development, the
legal and revenue managements aspects of exploring natural
resources (based on the many years GT has had in mineral
mining done by non-national companies) and in the area of
food and agricultural production. In this last area he added
that European Union funded cooperative projects have long
existed, but new ones deepening those already established
paths should be pursued.
While here for a ceremony for The UWI St. Augustine’s new South Campus in Penal-Debe, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,
David Granger spoke of an interest in the reintegration of Guyana into The UWI system.
At the launch of the Institute for Gender Studies at
the University of Guyana.
Opadeyi signed a Memorandum of Understanding,
on behalf of The UWI and the University of Guyana,
to strengthen collaboration.
The launch also offered an opportunity to bring
together The UWI and UG with the Institute for
Women, Gender and Development Studies at the
Anton de Kom University in Suriname. One such
example of possible collaboration may be an intake
of Guyanese and Surinamese students in The UWI St.
Augustine’s Philosophy of Gender in the Caribbean
graduate course, which will be offered regionally
through online blended learning strategies from
The launch also offered an opportunity to bring together The UWI and UG with the Institute for Women,
Gender and Development Studies at the Anton de Kom University in Suriname.
Links Archive October 3rd 2015 October 5th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page