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Toronto, ON – The University of the West Indies today announced that four-time Grammy Award winning Jamaican reggae recording artist Damian Marley will receive the Luminary Award alongside Canadian recording artist Deborah Cox, as previously announced, at the 10th annual UWI Toronto Gala, on Saturday, April 6, 2019, at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto.


Cox and Marley are the fifth and sixth acclaimed musical artists to receive the Luminary Award. They are joined by four other leaders of Canadian and Caribbean heritage and one organization to be honoured at the 10th annual gala in four award categories.


The Luminary Award is given to people of Caribbean Heritage who are outstanding achievers on an international scale in their respective fields or people who have brought prominence to the Caribbean or to issues which affect the Region.   


Damian Marley is the youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley. He was two years old when his father Bob Marley passed away. He launched his musical and performance career at the age of 13 when he formed the musical group The Shephards, before embarking on a successful and award-winning solo career.


He released his solo debut, Mr. Marley, backed by his late father’s label Tuff Gong in 1996. Three of his four solo albums (Halfway Tree, Welcome to Jamrock and Stony Hill) received the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. His third album, Welcome to Jamrock, released in the US and the UK was certified gold after selling 500,000 copies in the U.S. In addition to the record winning the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album, the title track also won for Best Urban/Alternative Performance, making Damian the only Jamaican reggae artist in history to win two Grammy Awards on the same night. He is also the only reggae artist to win in the Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance. The song charted No. 13 on the UK Singles Chart, No. 55 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart and was in the Top 100 Songs of the Decade by Rolling Stone.

In addition to the Luminary Award, the UWI Toronto Benefit Gala will honour four distinguished leaders and one organization in the following award categories.

The G. Raymond Chang Award will be presented to Lebanese-Canadian businessman and philanthropist Dr. Mohamad Fakih. Dr. Fakih is the CEO of Paramount Fine Foods. In 2015, he partnered with Ryerson University to assist with the settlement of Syrian refugees in Canada and in 2016, he covered the funeral costs for the victims of the Quebec mosque shooting, and for the mosque repairs. He also paid for dozens of hotel rooms for homeless people during the 2017-18 cold weather crisis in Toronto. The G. Raymond Chang Award is presented to individuals who exemplify the leadership and ideals for which, the late Gala patron, G. Raymond Chang stood.

Sandals Resorts, a Jamaican operator of all-inclusive resorts for couples in the Caribbean will be presented with the Chancellor’s Award. This award is presented to Caribbean organizations/institutions that have achieved outstanding success, or Canadian organizations/institutions that have contributed significantly to the Caribbean (West Indies) or brought to prominence issues which affect the region.

The Vice Chancellor’s Award is presented to individuals of Caribbean-Canadian heritage, who have attained success in their field of endeavors. The recipients of the 2019 award are:

  • Dr. Joy Spence, a UWI alumnus and Master Blender at Appleton Estate Rum. She is the first woman to hold the position in the spirts industry.
  • Dr. Juliet Daniel, Associate Professor in the Department of Biology, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She is also actively involved in the Afro-Caribbean community in Hamilton and Toronto.
  • The Honourable Justice Gregory Regis, former regional senior judge from the Ontario Court of Justice and a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University.


The UWI Toronto Gala is a signature event that honours Canadian/Caribbean individuals and organizations as well as global citizens whose body of work has impacted the Caribbean. The event is also the largest fundraiser for the UWI, in Canada.

For more information on the 10th annual University of the West Indies Toronto Benefit Gala log on to: