Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI – June 4, 2019 - The Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), which has its headquarters on the campus of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados, announced its participation in an Executive Session on Advancing Economic Development Through Entrepreneurship and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network conference.
The Clinton Foundation launched the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery in response to requests for recovery assistance from several of the Caribbean islands following the last devastating hurricane season. Building on CGI’s proven Commitment-to-Action model, the Action Network brought together leaders from across sectors to develop new, specific, and measurable plans to advance recovery and promote long-term resiliency across the region.
The Caribbean Science Foundation was selected by the Clinton Foundation to participate in the Executive Session on Advancing Economic Development Through Entrepreneurship and STEM Education, based on several papers published by CSF Co-Executive Directors, Professor Cardinal Warde and Dr. Dinah Sah, on strategies for the development of a STEM-based economic pillar in the region. Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton moderated the session and said “I am very excited about talking with the panelists about math and science here in the Caribbean because we know that to support a new generation of entrepreneurs and small businesses, which after all employ over 90% of the workforce in the US Virgin Islands alone, we can’t do it without STEM education.”
When asked by Secretary Clinton to share examples from the Caribbean Science Foundation’s experience with young people using STEM to solve regional challenges, Mrs. Gillian Hassell, Adjunct Program Manager with the CSF referenced her experience with two of the Foundation’s programmes. She highlighted the collaborative nature of the CSF’s Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) which, every summer, brings top science students from around the Region to Barbados to participate in an immersive programme in STEM, entrepreneurship and Caribbean unity. SPISE students work together on projects ranging from underwater robotics to new business proposals which provide them with important skills and experience that can be applied in the future to creating solutions to some of our regional challenges. She also drew attention to a student, who on completing CSF’s Computer Coding Workshop in Saint Lucia, remarked that it opened her mind to opportunities she had never thought of before in her country. In her concluding remarks, Mrs. Hassell said, “We are grooming the next generation of science and engineering leaders in the Caribbean. When we bring these young minds together, we want them to see that pursuing careers in STEM and STEM-based entrepreneurship is one way to assist with the economic development challenges that face Caribbean countries.”
A key component of the CGI Action Network is commitment to actions where the Clinton Global Initiative leverages its platform to assist organizations in translating goals into practical and measurable actions. The CSF anticipates the opportunity to work with several organizations within this Action Network to achieve multiple goals in the areas of STEM teacher training, STEM education, and STEM entrepreneurship development.
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