Ralycia Andrews, a Vincentian student has been invited to travel to Cape Town, South Africa as a delegate of Michigan State University- MSU ranked No.29 in the top 200 universities in the world.
In 2019, when Andrews decided to respond to the call for participants aged 15-24 from Latin America and the Caribbean by Michigan State University’s Global Youth Advancement Network essay competition, she was spurred by her passion for the Garifuna people. Her essay , ‘Walamiseru- Our Sad Experience’ captured second place and highlighted the hardships and human rights violations that still affect indigenous Garifuna communities within the Caribbean.
This essay also won Andrews a seat as a panelist in the United Nations’ International Youth Day 2020 discussion organised by M.S.U. Along with two other young females, Andrews led a panel discussion on the topic, ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action’. She was the only Caribbean representative .
Later in 2020, she was again selected by M.S.U to participate in the Ubuntu Student Dialogues again as the only Caribbean representative.
The Ubuntu Students Dialogues connects students at United States and African higher level institutions in dialogues on cross cultural, contemporary and critical issues affecting young people across the Atlantic. An extremely high profile dialogue, this event was opened to youths from all over the world. When the final selection was made,10 from the U.S.A and 10 from African countries, Andrews was selected as the Caribbean representative to sit on the panel.
In 2021, Andrews participated in the United Nations Ubuntu Leaders Academy -a project geared towards empowering young people aged 13-35 with skills and knowledge to work with the United Nations. She was engaged with presentations from world renowned leaders such as Nobel Peace Prize Laureates; U.N Secretary General – Ban-Ki Moon, U.N General Secretary-Antonio Guelerres; Former UN Special Advisor Adama Dieng and several other U.N representatives and world leaders. She was the first and only representative from St.Vincent and the Grenadines and received a certificate for her participation.
Earlier this year, she was successful in obtaining scholarships to attend the Change the World Model United Nations Youth Conference in New York and the Future Leaders Model United Youth Conference in Instabul Turkey and a Transcultura Regional Scholarship from U.N.E.S.C.O funded by the European Union. Unfortunately, she had to reject the offers for Change the World Model United Nations Youth Conference in New York and Future Leaders Model United Nations Youth Conference due to school and finance constraints. The Transcultura scholarship will see Andrews engaging a short capacity-building course related to cultural heritage and creative industries. Beneficiaries are from CARICOM,CARIFORUM and the O.E.C.S.
Andrews is presently pursuing undergraduate studies at U.W.I Cave Hill Campus as a recipient of the Sir Authur Lewis’ Scholarship for Indigenous People of the OECS which she had received in 2019. She is pursuing a BSc in Biology with a minor in Cultural Studies and is earnestly looking forward to furthering her education at Michigan State University after graduating Cave Hill. She hopes to pursue studies in Biological and Cultural Anthropology and or History.
Ralycia Andrews appeals to the youths of S.V.G to let nothing hinders them from pursuing their dreams.
“I have always been passionate about my cultural heritage and it has always been my vision to champion the history of my ancestors, in particular, the documentation and conservation of the legacies of our Garifuna people. Being from a lesser developed country did not deter me from pursuing opportunities that will enable me to realize this vision. Who would have thought that a youth from S.V.G could placed second in a global essay competition? Well, I did and you can too!
I had to compete for selection in all the events I have participated in – I had to submit video presentations, write essays and be interviewed. For the Ubuntu Leaders Academy, I must say I feel extremely grateful to have been selected in the final selection of 600 participants from 190 countries! If I can do it, you can do it too! When I travel to South Africa later this year, I will present myself as a representation of the youths of our Hairouna: a proud Garífuna decendant with the blood of African kings and queens running through our veins.
I will take with me the faith, and strength of Vincentian youths, in particular, the under-privileged. I am especially looking forward to stand on the land our ancestors had stood on ,where their sweat and blood had nurtured the earth. I plan to record my journey so I can share it with you. As I have always done at every event, the Vincentian flag will be proudly flown throughout my entire journey , and I will continue to fly this flag for the youths of S.V.G.”