Amitabh Sharma,Features Coordinator
The Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is gearing to welcome the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, Saturday, when he will be conferred with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws at a Special Convocation.
The special convocation will be held in the Assembly Hall at the Mona campus on Saturday, October 6, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
"The joint committee on the award of the honorary degree met in March and April this year and examined the case that was presented to us," C. William Iton, director of administration and university registrar, UWI, told The Gleaner.
Iton said the joint committee looked into the various criteria for selection laid down by the Charter, Ordinance and Statutes of the University and decided to award the honorary degree to the Archbishop of York.
"He has a distinguished record of achievements," said Iton, "and as his visit coincides with the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade, it assumes a greater significance."
Archbishop Sentamu is sought after as an adjudicator; he served as adviser to the Stephen Lawrence Judicial Enquiry over the period 1997-1999 and in 2002 chaired the Damilola Taylor Murder Review. Between 2002 and 2004 he was chairman of the EC1 New Deal, served as president of Youth for Christ in 2004 and president of the YMCA in 2005.
"The archbishop conveyed his happiness on being awarded the honorary degree," informed Iton.
Archbishop Sentamu is the second highest ranking Prelate in the Anglican Communion (after the Archbishop of Canterbury) and holds the title 'Primate of England' - the first black person to hold this position. He is also a member of the House of Lords and a Privy Councillor.
The Archbishop of York is the guest of the Anglican Diocese and will be on a visit to Jamaica from October 5 to 12 for the commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
It will be the sixth time in the history of the UWI that a special convocation is held. Those honoured at special convocations are Desmond Tutu in 1986, Nelson Mandela in 1991, Colin Powell in 1994, Harry Belafonte in 1996 and Kofi Annan in 1998.