Sustainable Futures for the Caribbean:

Critical Interventions and the 2030 Agenda

Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social & Economic Studies (SALISES), 19th Annual Conference

Professor the Hon. Ambassador Richard L. Bernal OJ

Ambassador Richard Bernal is Pro Vice Chancellor Global Affairs of the University of the West Indies. He is a professional economist, diplomat and trade negotiator with over 40 years of experience was educated at the University of the West Indies, University of Pennsylvania, New School for Social Research and the School for Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. He holds the degrees of B.Sc., MA, Ph.D. (Economics), and MIPP (International Public Policy). One of the 50 Distinguished Graduates of the University of the West Indies.

Member of the Broad of Directors of the Inter-American Development Bank (2008-2016).

Previous to the IADB he was the Director-General of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) for 8 years with responsibility for trade negotiations for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). He was Principal Negotiator for Forum of Caribbean States (CARIFORUM) in the negotiation of the CARIFORUM-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement and CARICOM’s lead negotiator and spokesperson in the World Trade Organization and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations.

Dr. Bernal was Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States of America and Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS) for the period May 6, 1991 to August 31, 2001. When he demitted office after 10 ½ years, he was the longest serving Jamaican ambassador to the USA, the4th most senior Ambassador in Washington D.C. and Dean of the Caribbean Diplomatic Corps. During his tenure he worked with three Presidents, five Secretaries of State and four US ambassadors to Jamaica.

Ambassador Bernal has given testimonies to several Committees of Congress (House and Senate) and the US International Trade Commission on issues of concern to the Caribbean. Colin Powell had this to say about his work. “During your ten years as Ambassador, you have earned respect and admiration throughout this country thanks to your effective representation of the interests of Jamaica and the Caribbean region. The United States has benefited from your cooperation on a wide range of issues of mutual interests”. -Expert from letter by Secretary of State General Colin Powell.

Previous to his diplomatic posting, he was Chief Executive Officer of a commercial bank. He has also worked in the Bank of Jamaica (central bank) and the Planning Institute/Agency of Jamaica. He taught international economics and development economics at the University of the West Indies. He is Honorary Professor at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies of the University of the West Indies and Senior Associate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC. W

Dr. Bernal has published over 100 articles in scholarly journals, books, and monographs (some available at as well as opinion editorials in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and the Miami Herald. Three books:

  • Globalization, Trade and Economic Development. A Study of the CARIFORM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
  • Dragon in the Caribbean. China’s Global Re-Positioning. Challenges and Opportunities for the Caribbean (Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, 2014).
  • The Influence of Small States on Superpowers: Jamaica and U.S. Foreign Policy (University of the West Indies Press, 2017).

He has appeared on McNeil-Lehrer report, CNN, PBS and BBC radio. Has been quoted in the Financial Times, Washington Post, New York Times and Washington Times.