November 29, 2005 – Kingston, Jamaica
Following on the establishment of the Digicel Foundation Chair in Telecommunications Policy and Management at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in April of this year, and the subsequent appointment of Dr. Hopeton Dunn as Director of the Digicel Foundation Programme at the Mona School of Business, a team from the Foundation toured the Mona School on Friday November 25, and held consultations on the progress of establishing the new Chair.
The Digicel Foundation team welcomed Dr. Dunn to his new post, and discussed with the UWI representatives, the structure and operations of the Telecommunications Policy and Management (TPM) Programme.
The Foundation's objectives in establishing the Chair are to encourage development and increased tertiary educational opportunities in the region. Moreover, the programme is specifically aimed at keeping tertiary level students within the region abreast global advancements in this fast-paced, developing field. Graduates of this high-level, first of its kind programme are expected to be well educated and equipped to execute decision-making and policy formation roles in the region.
The new Chair has been endowed with the largest contribution to date, of any at the UWI. Digicel Foundation Chairman Mr. Harry Smith reiterated the commitment of Digicel and its Foundation, to the establishment of sustainable institutions in Jamaica , noting:
“It is most fitting that Digicel, as a fast-paced company in the business of telecommunications be involved in such an important undertaking to foster opportunities for our own people to become trained professionals in the field. This partnership between the Digicel Foundation and the UWI will allow graduates greater access to employment in the field which is currently outsourced outside the region.”
“In sponsoring the Programme,” he added, “Digicel Foundation hopes to assist in elevating the level of education in the field of telecommunications and the ability of its graduates to perform at international standards; breaking the cycle of external dependence.”
Dr. Hopeton Dunn gave a PowerPoint presentation on the status of telecommunications in the region and outlining the expectations of the programme from the standpoint of the University. He also presented a synopsis of the initial plans to filter courses into the existing curriculum, and the projected path of the programme.
The new Chair will be hosted by the UWI's Mona School of Business in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the university. The programme will consist of a combination of university courses, industry and academic seminars, publications and sponsored research.
Digicel Foundation is a non-profit organization established by Digicel to distribute and utilize resources for the sole purpose of building communities and the community spirit in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean . Projects already undertaken by the Digicel Foundation include the rebuilding of the Lakes Pen Basic School in St. Catherine, an allocation of $200million towards Jamaica 's Hurricane Ivan relief effort and the provision of recreational equipment for Arnett Gardens in Kingston and Farm Heights/Rose Heights in St. James.