University of Rhode Island to expand collaboration with Cuba

Posted: 26-Aug-15 15:40

Interested in conducting research on oceanography and other environmental issues, the University of Rhode Island hopes to expand its educational programmes in Cuba now that travel for academic purposes is allowed by US government.

University of Rhode Island to expand collaboration with Cuba

Since diplomatic relations were re-established between Cuba and the US, the matter of free travel between both countries is an issue that interests all American citizens.

Although the on-going embargo still prevents Americans from visiting the island as tourists, certain travel bans have been lifted, allowing travel under certain categories related to religious, cultural and educational purposes.

The University of Rhode Island (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography, which has expressed a lot of interest in collaborating with the island, hopes to expand its academic programmes to Cuba.

Leaders at the University of Havana, Cuba's National Aquarium and the Cuban Institute of Oceanology have begun discussing research opportunities for students and faculty members with the American institution. Bruce Corliss, Dean of URI's Graduate school of Oceanography expressed that this exchange would not only largely contribute to scientific investigation, but that it would also help the island-nation, which currently encounters environmental challenges, including erosion of beaches the ever-so-frequent hurricanes.

"Cuba is facing many of the same environmental concerns that we are – climate change, sea level rise, erosion of beaches, ocean acidification, hurricanes –," said Corliss, during his visit to Cuba in July to meet with officials at the University of Havana, the National Aquarium of Cuba and the Cuban Institute of Oceanology "We have expertise in all of these areas."

In order to nourish the new-fangled relations between URI and Cuban institutions, the Dean will attend Mar Cuba, Cuba's biennial marine and coastal science research conference, which will take place in November, along with other URI scientists. Corliss expects this event to be the right time to discuss in depth specific projects and sign a formal agreement between the URI and the Cuban government.

This step forward will certainly prove beneficial for Cuba's marine environment as the URI School of Oceanography will provide much-needed expertise and equipment. Nonetheless, URI will also gain a great deal from this interchange.

"There is a great deal we can gain from the relationship, too. It will be true collaboration that will be fruitful for both parties," Corliss explained: "There are new areas of research in their region that we can learn about, there are environmental issues there that we are very interested in, and we would like to help shape the evolution of environmental policy there."


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