About The Director of Strategic Initiatives
Dr Fitzgerald (Gerry) Yaw is a Caribbean and US educated economic development and governance professional who has been working on economic empowerment at the community, regional, and national levels since the 1990s in the Caribbean, the USA and Canada. Prior to returning to Guyana in August 2016 to work as a Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor of The University of Guyana (UG), Dr Yaw worked with Statistics Canada in the Edmonton Regional Office. There, he assisted and supported statistical survey operations staff in getting data on business, agricultural and social surveys, as well as the Canadian general and agricultural censuses. This experience is going to be very useful in helping Dr Yaw to contextualize the role of UG in Guyana’s national development as he works on supporting the renaissance efforts of the UG Vice-Chancellor.
The experiences and vision which Dr Yaw brings to his official role as Director, Office of Strategic Initiatives, include stints at Correctional Service Canada, Millennium 1 Solutions, the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, The University of the West Indies (UWI) Centre for Environment and Development, Office of Planning and Development in the Vice Chancellery of The UWI, and Consultant to York College of City University of New York, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, and the Inter-American Development Bank.
Dr Yaw has a PhD in International Development from the University of Southern Mississippi. The title of Dr Yaw’s PhD dissertation is “Cleaner Technologies as an Aspect of Sustainable Tourism: Caribbean Case Studies”. Dr Yaw obtained his Bachelors Degree in Economics from The UG and a Masters in Social Studies from The UWI.
Dr Yaw has written on sustainable development issues looking at the tourism sector, energy, governance, higher education funding, with a special interest in governance in the resource extraction sector. Dr Yaw’s educational pursuits were supported by a Consortium Graduate Award to do his Masters studies at UWI and an Organization of American States-LASPAU Fellowship to complete his PhD.
Civic engagement is in Dr Yaw’s view, an essential aspect of being a citizen and, in the Caribbean and The Americas, this position continues to be a key part of Dr Yaw’s life. The basic act of voting in national and sub-national elections is an essential part of the civic engagement that is so vital to our citizenship, as is organized political activity within the context of our professional lives. Of course, Dr Yaw acknowledges that our level of political engagement must not appear to bias our ability to provide excellent and fair services and commodities to all our stakeholders.
Dr Yaw has volunteered and served in leadership in the Gender and Development Studies Group at the UWI Mona Campus, the Sierra Club in Canada and the USA, The Jamaican Ottawa Community Association and the Mississippi Chapter of the Guyana-Mississippi Partnership.
Dr Yaw’s work with the Sierra Club involved significant engagement with stakeholders on renewable energy issues and these experiences are particularly relevant to the current and future work of The UG as well as being a great entry point for his continued civic engagement in Guyana.