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Apr 27, 2016 08:01 AM EDT

IIE Backs US-Cuba Bilateral Cooperation, Signals Positive Impact On Higher Education

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Colleges and universities are interested in pitching research and academic collaboration in areas of joint interest, such as agriculture, water management, renewable energy, environmental studies and public health.

To welcome the new academic commitment, US colleges and universities sent representatives and joined together to participate in Congreso Universidad 2016, the bi-annual international education conference of the Cuban Ministry of Higher Education, as part of a delegation led by the IIE and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. 

Colleges which participated in the US higher education delegation led by IIE in October 2015 realized that the most feasible joint actions is faculty level cooperation, which also hinted a possible graduate student exchange.

However, undergraduate student exchange appeared less feasible from a resource standpoint. Cuba's central higher education system, in addition, provides developing ties and receiving consent to work in partnership to another obstacle to US institutions that are needed to be facilitated.

According to the few US institutions that have maintained good working relationships with counterparts in Cuba, They have gained valuable results in the past years, such as joint publications, deep cultural understanding for US students, faculty connections and lasting relationships with the valuable academes in both countries.

To make US-Cuba Academic Cooperation a driving force, when the economic and political atmosphere are outside the rulings of US higher education, US colleges and universities must start making academic engagement a reality.

With this, the IIE will initiate a new International Academic Partnership Program later this year for campuses which consider wielding ties with Cuban institutions.

It will take time to see the unprecedented progress in US-Cuba relations come to realization on all levels although developments are already noticeable.

It is the in the hands of the higher education society to labor on programs to advance these growing ties by creating significant academic opportunities in both countries and nurturing mutual perspective at its developing progress.

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