A 2022 finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship, representing his native Jamaica, Bentley Walker has captured attention for embracing a big goal: to promote unprecedented economic development and prosperity in the Caribbean.
The lofty aim infuses every aspect of the young man's life, from pushing him to study French and Dutch as complements to the Spanish he has already mastered — the better to communicate with the widest swath of the region’s population — to starting a nonprofit dedicated to building a support network for the islands’ small businesses. Already he has created an online marketplace, soon to launch, and is helping another student establish a Haitian-owned enterprise around rice production. The latter is one step, he says, to building back a formerly thriving industry now lagging behind imports and controlled by foreign firms.
Eyeing an MBA, the Honors College student distinguishes between finding ways to help others meet basic needs through viable work and, more critically, watching them thrive by reaching their creative and entrepreneurial potential — the latter making possible the kind of success he and fellow-Caribbean ex-pats have found in the United States.
“I want to see people fulfill their dreams. People shouldn’t have to leave their homeland just to survive or realize their goals. This has really impacted my heart and my soul.”