Malcolm Gladwell, Zanana Akande and Other Notables of Caribbean Heritage Honoured in Toronto in March

                                                             The University of the West Indies hosts 3rd Annual Benefit Gala in Toronto

 TORONTO, Jan. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The University of the West Indies (UWI) is hosting its 3rd Annual Benefit Gala in Toronto, on Saturday March 10, 2012. Under the theme:  Light, Learning and Liberty, Canada’s business community will honour award-winning author, Malcolm Gladwell, and Zananda Akande, former cabinet minister, as well as other outstanding Canadians: Dr. Pamela Da Camara, Ms. Artis Lane, Dr. Tony MacFarlane, Mr. Lloyd G. Seivwright, Mr. Howard Shearer, Mr. Suresh Sookoo and Mr. Frank Walwyn. Masters of ceremonies at the UWI Gala are award winning journalist and diversity consultant, Hamlin Grange and award-winning journalist Suhana Meharchand, host of CBC News Now. 

The University Health Network, which includes Toronto Western, Toronto General and Princess Margaret Hospitals, is also being honoured as an outstanding institution that facilitates post-graduate training for a number of UWI medical students in Canada, and for providing exceptional care to its communities. Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong, a gold medalist in medicine from UWI, is a senior consulting physician at the University Health Network, Chair in teaching of internal medicine at the University of Toronto and co-founder of the Toronto General and Western Hospital’s new Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong Centre for Excellence in Education and Practice. “Our internship program provides some of the Caribbean’s best medical students with the opportunity to learn and work at a world-class medical facility. In turn, we benefit from the students’ different perspectives, persistence and determination that are inherent with UWI,” says Dr. Ho Ping Kong. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Under the patronage of the Hon. G. Raymond Chang OJ (Order of Jamaica), the UWI Gala is known as a remarkable evening of celebration, embracing Canada’s rich diversity while raising funds to benefit students through the UWI Scholarship Fund and the UWI Haitian Initiative. Dr. Chang is a Director of CI Financial where he recently served as CEO and Chair, and Chancellor of Ryerson University. He is also an honorary graduate of UWI and shares this alumni status with an estimated 1,000 leaders in business, judiciary, medicine, law, engineering, nursing, religion, communications and media sectors throughout Canada.

“This extraordinary evening celebrates UWI and the leadership of the wider Caribbean community in Canada, as well as outstanding students who themselves will one day lead the way in their own communities in the Caribbean, here in Canada and around the world.” Says Chang. He further states, “UWI has a number of sustainable relationships with several universities and colleges across Canada. In fact Ryerson and UWI have collaborated on a number of successful programs.”

The 2012 Luminary award recipients are outstanding leaders in their community and on the international stage. They include Ms. Zanana Akande, the first black woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the first woman to serve as a cabinet minister in Canada and Mr. Malcolm Gladwell, an extraordinary journalist, speaker and author of international bestsellers The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), and What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (2009).

This year’s Vice Chancellor’s Awardees are: Dr. Pamela Da Camara, former Chief & Medical Director of Laboratory Medicine at Toronto East General and medical laboratory pioneer; Ms. Artis Lane, an award-winning Canadian sculptor and painter; Dr. Tony MacFarlane, Internal Medicine and Cultural Philanthropist; Mr. Lloyd G. Seivwright, President of the Supreme Council of Independent United Order of Solomon Inc. Canada, a not-for-profit, charitable and fraternal organization and education advocate; Mr. Howard Shearer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hitachi Canada Ltd (HCL); Mr. Suresh Sookoo, Chief Executive Officer of RBC’s Caribbean Banking; and Mr. Frank Walwyn, LLP was recently named as one of Canada’s top lawyers in the area of corporate and commercial litigation.

The University of the West Indies 3rd Annual Benefit Gala will take place on Saturday March 10, 2012 at the Four Seasons Hotel, with interview and photo opportunities available for select honourees. Find additional gala details at and for more timely updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Building on Success
With such a strong Caribbean community in Canada, UWI has initiated a successful Annual Benefit Gala that will continue to strengthen the relationship between Canada and the Caribbean for years to come. The Gala has become a much-anticipated event on the Toronto social calendar. Over the past two years, over 35 scholarships have been awarded to students who are rising stars in the Caribbean. Former honourees include: Dr. The Honourable Harry Belafonte; The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Former Deputy Chief of Toronto police Mr. Keith L. Forde; Hon. Michael Lee-Chin OJ; the Honourable Jean Augustine; The Honourable Justice Dr. Irving Andre and Dr. Karl Massiah.

The funds from the 2012 UWI Benefit Gala will assist the Haitian Initiative and the UWI Scholarship Fund.

About The University of the West Indies
The University of the West Indies (UWI) was established in 1948 as a college of the University of London. It achieved full university status in 1962 and today, is the only pan-Caribbean tertiary level institution offering a wide array of diverse and accredited programs to 40,000 students throughout the region, with campuses in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean.