The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of Havana that will allow the institutions to develop cooperative programs in a variety of academic disciplines.
The agreement will be in effect for three years and will be open to renewal. The specifics of the collaboration had not yet been determined, VCU said, but student exchanges are possible and several programs within the American university have interest in pursuing partnerships.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who was present for the signing this week at the University of Havana, hailed the agreement.
“The University of Havana and VCU both have rich histories and bright futures. This MOU will ensure that the future includes significant engagement and collaboration between these great academic and research institutions, as well as between the commonwealth of Virginia and the nation of Cuba,” he said.
The University of Havana dates to the 1720s and is one of the first universities founded in the Americas, according to its website.
VCU has more than 50 such global partnerships. They provide opportunities for study abroad while also bringing international students and scholars to Richmond and creating opportunities for collaborative research.
United States Secretary of Education Anne Holton said she was pleased that the two had established collaborative relations to promote friendship and to cooperate in a mutually beneficial manner.
She contended that strengthening academic and research collaboration is a significant step in building stronger economic and cultural ties between Virginia and Cuba, and the agreement would allow both partners to benefit from their unique assets.
“We are eager to continue the meaningful partnership . . . and to deepen it in the years to come,” Holton said.