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UT Academic Leaders to Travel to Cuba to Build Educational Partnerships

The University of Tampa has been selected as one of 10 schools in the U.S. by the Institute of International Education (IIE) to participate in the binannual Congreso Universidad Cuban International Education Conference.

As part of the program, David Stern, UT’s provost; Marca Bear, associate dean of international programs; Frank Ghannadian, dean of the Sykes College of Business; David Gudelunas, dean of the College of Arts and Letters; Jack Geller, dean of the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education; and Paul Greenwood, dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences, will travel to Havana Feb. 11–17.

“Engaging in academic and cultural exchange with institutions of higher education in Cuba deepens Tampa’s international heritage that is a unique part of our community’s history,” said Stern.

“This is a critical moment for academic cooperation between the United States and Cuba,” said Clare Overman, head of higher education initiatives at IIE. “We firmly believe in the opportunity to expand bi-lateral exchange. This delegation aims to foster and explore those opportunities for academic collaboration despite challenges.”

At the Congreso Universidad, U.S. representatives will meet with their Cuban counterparts, opening opportunities for future academic partnerships and student exchanges between the two nations. IIE’s International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) will lead the delegation.

Since current restrictions limit options for individual travel to Cuba from the United States, this trip represents a unique opportunity to foster educational exchanges and partnerships between the two countries. Moreover, Congreso Universidad will allow representatives of U.S. universities to connect with their counterparts in remote or difficult to access regions of Cuba.

The Cuban Ministry of Higher Education (MES) hosts the Congreso Universidad semi-annually, inviting delegations from Latin America and the world to meet with higher education officials from Cuba.

UT previously attended Congreso Universidad in 2015, which led to the University being named the first U.S. affiliate of the Center for Martí Studies in April 2016.

In May 2016, UT offered two travel courses to Cuba: Government and World Affairs 353: Cuba and the U.S., and Communication 224: Mass Media and Society. In October 2016, seven UT faculty presented research papers during the UNICA Conference, organized by the University of Ciego de Avila in Cuba.

For more information, contact Lisa Shemon, coordinator of international programs education and outreach, at or (813) 258-7431.

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