The GraceKennedy Foundation (GKF) has announced that environment and development policy expert Dr Margaret Jones Williams, United Nations Development Programme’s Deputy Resident Representative for Suriname, will be the guest presenter at its 2020 public lecture which will be hosted virtually on September 30 starting at 11:30 a.m. EST. The annual lecture, which typically takes place in March, was postponed in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Jamaica this year. In keeping with protocols to limit the spread of the pandemic, the lecture will take place exclusively online for the first time and will be live streamed via Zoom.

“Although COVID-19 has changed the usual format of our lecture, we are excited about the new opportunities that will be presented by hosting it online only, including opening it up to a wider audience across the Caribbean region and around the world,” said Caroline Mahfood, GK Foundation’s CEO.

The lecture, which is being presented by GKF in partnership with the UNDP, is entitled The Decade of Action Begins – The Sustainable Development Goals Leaving No One Behind and will explore the historical context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), their adoption and progress.

“With all the challenges we face in the world today, many of which have intensified due to COVID-19, the SDGs are even more relevant in helping us plot a sustainable course for our future. We are excited to welcome Dr Jones Williams to share her insights on this important topic which will help to build a more resilient Jamaica and Caribbean region as we recover from this pandemic together,” said Mrs Mahfood.

The SDGs were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015 as a universal call to address global challenges, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice by 2030.

Dr Jones Williams joins a distinguished list of presenters in the GK Foundation Annual Lecture Series including Dr Maureen Samms-Vaughn, Professor Barry Chevannes, Dennis Morrison Q.C., Professor Elizabeth Thomas-Hope and Professor Emerita Elsa Leo-Rhynie.



About Dr Margaret Jones Williams
Dr Jones Williams is a leading development and environment professional with over 30 years of service within the public and private sectors in Jamaica and around the world. A past student at Meadowbrook High School, she holds a master’s degree in natural sciences with a major in marine biology and a minor in chemistry from UWI. In 1998, as a Commonwealth Scholar, she gained her doctorate in Environmental Management with a focus on Biological Oceanography from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom.

About the GraceKennedy Foundation Annual Public Lecture
Over the past three decades, the GKF Annual Public Lecture has been established as an invaluable instrument of intellectual discourse which has examined various national and regional issues including culture, politics, gender affairs, the Jamaican family, food and nutrition, voluntarism, technology, sports and the environment. Each year copies of the lecture book are distributed in hard copy to schools and public libraries across the island, and made available online at to extend the lecture’s reach.