Sir George Allenmore O'Garren Alleyne, OCC, MD, FRCP, FACP (Hon), DSc (Hon)
Chancellor of the University of the West Indies
Sir George Alleyne is Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean Region.
Early life and education
George Alleyne was born on 7 October 1932 at Lucas Street, St Philip, Barbados. He grew up in a home which was disciplined by his father, an elementary school teacher. His mother was a homemaker. He received his early education at Holy Trinity Boys’ School and then moved on to Harrison College. He received the Barbadian Scholarship in 1951, but he decided to study at The University College of the West Indies, Mona Jamaica, despite having the opportunity to study anywhere in the world. After graduation in medicine from the UWI as the gold medalist with the degree of bachelor of medicine and surgery (MB.BS) in 1957, he obtained his M.D. from the University of London in 1965.
He entered academic medicine at the UWI in 1962, and his career included research at the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit for his doctorate in medicine. He was appointed Professor of Medicine at the UWI in 1972, and four years later became Chairman of the Department of Medicine. He is an emeritus professor of the UWI and was appointed Chancellor of the UWI in 2003.
Sir George has served as a member of various bodies, including the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tropical Disease Research Program and the Institute of Medicine Committee on Scientific Investigation in Developing Countries. From 1970 to 1981, Sir George served as a member and chair of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Advisory Committee on Medical Research.
In 1981, Sir George left the UWI to assume the position of Chief of the Unit of Research,
Promotion and Coordination in the Division of Human Resources and Research at PAHO/WHO; and in 1983 was appointed Director of the Area of Health Programs. In
1990 he was appointed Assistant Director of PAHO/WHO and in 1995 Director of PAHO. He completed a second four-year term in 2003 and was elected Director Emeritus. Sir George was also appointed the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean Region in 2003.
Sir George has 144 publications in scientific journals, and during his term as Director of
PAHO and subsequently has given numerous speeches and presentations in which he has dealt with issues such as equity in health, health and development, HIV/AIDS and the basis for international cooperation in health. He has also addressed several aspects of
Caribbean health and the problems the region faces.
Honours and awards
Sir George has received numerous awards in recognition of his work, including prestigious decorations and national honours from many countries of the Americas. In 1990, he was made Knight Bachelor by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his services to medicine. In 2001, he was awarded the Order of the Caribbean Community, the highest honour that can be conferred on a Caribbean national.
Sir George is married to Sylvan I. Chen and they have three children.