Jamaica’s Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, recently awarded alumnus Arthur Williams ’16 with the Youth Award for Excellence in the International Achievement category, acknowledging Williams’ accomplishments while at Hamilton and in the years following his graduation.
Williams’ research into the development of the Caribbean region including Jamaica and Cuba and his willingness to share his findings at conferences, in the media, and even with White House speechwriters, have engendered great pride among Jamaicans.
The award is the highest award/honor that youth aged 15-29 can receive in Jamaica. It recognizes young Jamaicans who have excelled and contributed to national development in various areas.
In 2016, Williams received international recognition when he was consulted by the White House under the Obama administration to discuss the research he conducted on the opening of the free market in Cuba and U.S.-Cuba relations.
With funding from an Emerson Foundation Grant, he had spent two months in Havana in 2015 conducting that research. (He majored in Hispanic studies at Hamilton.) The writers wanted to learn more about the changing political and economic landscape in Cuba from Williams on the eve of President Obama’s historic trip to Cuba.
I was really able to shape my college experience around developing the knowledge base and leadership skills that would allow me to maximize my value to society as a true changemaker.
The news of Williams’s accomplishment was aired on local and national media and quickly went viral in Jamaica as he proudly declared his Jamaican nationality while explaining the benefits that the opening between the U.S. and Cuba could have for Jamaica.
After graduating, Williams continued to serve his country working at think tanks including Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and the Caribbean-Central American Action (C-CAA). These two organizations, based in New York and Washington respectively, are dedicated to the development of the Latin American and Caribbean region. While at AS/COA Williams also wrote articles, bringing awareness to various issues affecting the region.
Going forward, Williams hopes “to keep working within the Cuba space, paying attention to developments on the island, particularly as it relates to the private sector and investment climate.” Since returning home, he has joined PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where he has been working as a deals associate, supporting PwC’s advisory practice with an emphasis on the development of deals and deal strategy for clients.
“This opportunity allows me to work with some of the biggest companies not just in Jamaica, but across the Caribbean, helping them to raise capital, expand, create more jobs and in turn economic growth for our country and region,” Williams explained.
Williams said he is grateful for opportunities and experiences that Hamilton afforded him. Besides the Emerson grant that allowed him to design and pursue the project in Cuba, he said Hamilton helped him to identify his passion for development. “I was really able to shape my college experience around developing the knowledge base and leadership skills that would allow me to maximize my value to society as a true changemaker,” said Williams.
“I studied Hispanic studies, Africana studies and public policy, focusing on the Caribbean and Latin American region, precisely because I wanted to learn more deeply about the socioeconomic issues that we face and to equip myself with a better understanding of public policy to affect change.”