Northeastern Secures Academic Partnerships for Co-​​ops, Research in Cuba

• from Meisha Swaby

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity has signed agree­ments with insti­tu­tions in Cuba offi­cially estab­lishing part­ner­ships that will lead to a range of new aca­d­emic opportunities—from global co- ops to research—for North­eastern stu­dents and faculty.

Uni­ver­sity leaders and fac­ulty from North­eastern met on campus Tuesday with a Cuban del­e­ga­tion from the Fun­dación Antonio Núñez Jiménez and the Uni­ver­sity of Havana to sign the agree­ments, which come on the heels of a North­eastern delegation’s visit to Cuba in March to explore aca­d­emic and research part­ner­ships there. The recent moves to begin nor­mal­izing of rela­tions between the United States and Cuba paved the way for North­eastern to pursue these opportunities.

While a handful of U.S. higher edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tions already offer study abroad and lan­guage immer­sion pro­grams in Cuba, these new part­ner­ships posi­tion North­eastern at the fore­front of expanding aca­d­emic oppor­tu­ni­ties in the country. They will also serve as the foun­da­tion for other poten­tial part­ner­ships with these two insti­tu­tions in the future.

Under Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun’s lead­er­ship, North­eastern has sig­nif­i­cantly expanded its sig­na­ture co- op pro­gram on a global scale. Stu­dents engaged in expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­ni­ties in 131 coun­tries from 2006 to 2014, and there were 10,395 co- op place­ments in 2014–15—up from 6,301 in 2006- 07. North­eastern counts more than 3,100 co- op employers in the U.S. and around the world.

The Fun­dación Antonio Núñez Jiménez, or FANJ, is an envi­ron­mental research non- governmental orga­ni­za­tion that pri­marily engages in studying the impacts of cli­mate change on Cuba and pro­moting the environmental- consciousness of the Cuban people. Under the mem­o­randum of under­standing signed with North­eastern, FANJ would accept co- op stu­dents and work with North­eastern fac­ulty to estab­lish joint marine sci­ence, envi­ron­mental sus­tain­ability, and social science- related research projects.