On Saturday 20 February, the CSC Alumni Team, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scholars Alumni Association Jamaica (CSAAJ), held the first online regional event for Commonwealth Alumni based in the Caribbean.

The event aimed to bring together alumni from across the region and provide an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the impact Commonwealth Alumni were making in the Caribbean across a range of areas, as well as take part in small networking sessions. The attendees who joined the event represented eight countries in the region.

The event featured presentations from three Commonwealth Alumni, representing Jamaica, Belize, and Guyana, who each provided an overview of their work and the impact areas they address. The presentations were followed by a Q&A session.

Tackling the digital divide

Following opening remarks by the CSC Alumni Team, Commonwealth Alumnus Tarik Dixon (2013 Commonwealth Scholar from Jamaica, MSc Spatial Planning, University College London) delivered the first presentation on ‘Using spatial data to tackle the Digital Divide’. As a geospatial professional and Head of GIS Network and Design Operations, Digicel Group, Tarik emphasised the need to develop a subsea network and spatial strategy to close the digital divide and alleviate some of the digital challenges faced in the Caribbean region. In his presentation, Tarik outlined the benefits of this network and provided recommendations for the future of this area of work.

Approaches to gender equality

The second presentation was delivered by Commonwealth Alumnus Cynthia Williams (2017 Commonwealth Scholar from Belize, MA Development Studies, University of Sussex). In her role as Executive Director at the National Women’s Commission in Belize, the national advisory body to the government on issues of gender equality, equity and women’s empowerment, Cynthia’s work focuses on the experiences and barriers faced by women in different areas of work and civil society and her presentation at the event posed the question: ‘Multisectoral approach to gender equality: Whose perspective do we use?’. In her presentation, Cynthia explored the complexities and challenges in achieving gender equality across different communities and cultures and discussed the importance of understanding the multiple realities and perspectives on gender in order to achieve equality.

Advancing care for patients living with blood disorders

The final presentation was delivered by Commonwealth Alumnus, Dr Sherelyn Stanton, a paediatrician and Senior Registrar and Head of Inpatient Services of the Paediatric Medicine Department at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation in Guyana. Dr Stanton completed a Commonwealth Professional Fellowship in 2016 with The Association of Guyanese and Allied Professionals in the United Kingdom and opened her presentation with an account of her Fellowship experience and the reasons for undertaking this. Chiefly, Dr Stanton explained that this decision was in response to the pressing need to improve treatments for patients with haemoglobinopathies (blood disorders), such as Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and Thalassaemia, in Guyana. Her presentation highlighted the important strides she had been able to make in the treatment of patients with blood disorders, particularly young patients, in the years since her Fellowship.

The event ended with small breakout sessions for attendees to meet alumni from across the region, as well as an opportunity to address final questions to the speakers.

To find out more about upcoming alumni events, webinars, and workshops, visit the event calendar.