College joins delegation to Cuba

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Bruce Sillner, dean of the Center for International Programs, and L. David Eaton, vice president for Enrollment Management, will represent SUNY New Paltz as members of an historic Oct. 24-31 delegation to Cuba. The delegation is led by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The delegation is part of a broader IIE Cuba Higher Education Initiative that seeks to reinvigorate higher education engagement between the U.S. and Cuba in light of the opening of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Inclusion in this historic delegation is a testament to the College’s strong record of developing academic partnerships throughout the world,” Sillner said. “New Paltz prides itself on its commitment to international educational exchange – a tradition which began in 1901, when the New Paltz Normal School hosted a group of 50 Cuban women who came to our campus to study American educational practices.”

The College’s embrace of international education opportunities in Cuba continued in January 2000, when the U.S. Department of the Treasury granted New Paltz a permit to negotiate with officials at the University of Havana about possible student and faculty exchanges. From 2000-2002, the Center for International Programs and the Latin American & Caribbean Studies Program offered a summer study abroad program at the University of Havana. The program was discontinued after a tightening of Treasury Department regulations for academic travel to Cuba.

The present undertaking is an effort to increase partnerships between U.S. and Cuban institutions by addressing key academic interests and needs on each side. There are currently very few study abroad programs sending American students to study in Cuba, and far fewer bringing Cubans to learn in the United States.

“In our face-to-face meetings Cuban educators, we have found that the desire to develop partnerships with U.S. colleges and universities is strong,” said Allan Goodman, IIE’s president and CEO. “The reestablishment of relations between the United States and Cuba paves the way for student and faculty exchange in both directions and allows for joint research that will benefit both of our societies and the world we share.”

SUNY New Paltz’s involvement in this mission reflects the continued recognition of the excellence of international programs the College is garnering from the IIE, the world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas with more than 1,400 member institutions. Earlier this year New Paltz was named a recipient of the IIE’s prestigious Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education, for extraordinary work in opening international study opportunities to Education Opportunity Program (EOP) students.

More information about the SUNY New Paltz Center for International Programs and the Institute of International Education can be found online.