US President Barak Obama, in his April 2015 visit to Kingston, Jamaica, will be meeting Caribbean youth leaders at the Assembly Hall and the leadership of the Caribbean Community at the Regional Headquarters Building on the Mona Campus of The UWI. There is much symbolism in these 2 of 3 university spaces dedicated to the West Indian regional ideal.
The Assembly Hall is an official gathering space for the University. From convocations, official installations, lectures, matriculation ceremonies, symposia, fairs to examinations, the Hall has served as the setting for many notable university and regional occasions. In addition to the university’s coat-of-arms placed centrally on the backdrop wall of the platform are the national coat of arms of regional West Indian nations lined around the hall in alphabetical order.
The University Chapel goes further with this regional theme. The colonial heraldic symbols for the original contributing territories form part of the tile ceiling and the national flags of these territories are mounted from the balcony. Again, various types of non-denominational services and celebrations are regularly held here. The University community meets officially at the chapel four times per academic year: the Welcome Service in September, the Carol Service in December, the Commemoration Service in February and the Valedictory Service in April/May.
The Regional Headquarters building, however, is the latest edifice dedicated to West Indian regionalism. This is not just a symbolic space. This building is dedicated to the functional operation of a regional university. Opened in 2012, the RHQ building is the home of the Office of the Vice Chancellor and the various units of the Vice Chancellery. Although functional, with Council Rooms and office spaces, the RHQ building is home to the University Museum and the University Archives, repositories of the artefacts and records of this four-campus university.
The President will have opportunity to meet the Caribbean in spaces that were designed for the Caribbean to meet and learn. We wish the President, the heads of Caribbean governments and the youth leaders well.
Please be advised that The University Archives of the UWI , as well as the other offices in the UWI Regional Headquarters Building, will be closed today Thursday 9 April 2015, in order to facilitate the visit of the President to the Campus.