The University of Glasgow in Scotland has agreed to pay £20 million in reparations to the University of the West Indies. Glasgow University received millions of pounds in grants from British slave owners throughout the 19th century. The sum of £20 million was the amount paid to slave owners as reparations by the British government when it abolished slavery in 1834. Sir Hilary Beckles, UWI’s vice chancellor, said in a press release that Glasgow University recognized that it can not be excellent if it isn’t ethical. The agreement marks the first time a slavery-enriched European institution has apologized for its part in slavery and committed to reparation funds.
The money will be used to establish a jointly-owned and managed research institution, the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research. The two institutions plan to find solutions to Caribbean development problems in areas such as medicine and public health, economics, and economic growth, cultural identity and cultural industries, and other 21st century orientations in Caribbean transformation. The center will conduct policy research in science, technology, society and economy, and education and advocacy that seek to repair what Beckles said was the “debilitating consequences of slavery and colonization that continue to hold back Caribbean development”
The new center will be formally established on both campuses in September.