Last Tuesday and Wednesday SIUE was host to a delegation from the University Of Havana. This visit was part of the ongoing efforts by the two universities to establish an ongoing academic exchange program. This exchange is part of the ongoing efforts of SIUE’s Cuban and Caribbean Center, founded in 2009 with the purpose of increasing the universities presence in the region. These efforts began in anticipation to changes in the political climate as the Obama administration came into office, and with the hopes that restrictions between the two countries would be lessened allowing for new academic collaboration.
“I think that it is a great opportunity for faculty and students,” Dean Aldemaro Romero (CAS) explained.
Romero went on to share that with both universities looking forward to the formal approval of the exchange both universities have begun operating as though the agreement were already in place.
The visiting delegation consisted of three representatives from the University of Havana: sociologist Jorge Hernandez Martinez, historian Raul Rodriguez, and economist Luis Rene Fernadez. During their time at the university the trio toured SIUE’s facilities, met with local and university media, gave lectures on the current state of US Cuban relations both sociopolitical and economic, and met with faculty to discuss the particulars of the anticipated academic exchange.
All parties involved expressed the hope that this academic exchange would help to in some small way to ease political tensions between the two countries and foster greater understanding.
“Perhaps one of the most important things with SIUE is that it is a new face or actor in a new geographic area,” Rodriguez shared, “We need to better know the whole country that is the US.”