A team from Illinois College is traveling to Cuba this weekend to sign a long-term research agreement with two universities.
Illinois College President Dr. Barbara Farley says this agreement, between the University of Pinar del Rio and Soroa Botanical Garden, has been in the works for more than two years.
“Dr. Larry Zettler and Dr. Steve Gardner have made connections with these universities through bat and orchid recovery research. They have been doing incredible work. It because of this work, also from Dr. Brian Arnold, that we are able to come in during an important time between the United States and Cuba.”
Farley says a delegation of facility and students have been doing research in Cuba since the beginning of 2016. Last summer, a pair of students traveled to South Florida to examine orchid recovery with a Cuban researcher.
Farley notes this is a “fantastic opportunity” for Illinois College to be on the ground floor of this biological and environmental research.
“It is a statement towards what we really value in our students education,which includes the opportunity to study away, do internships and service learning. It is a cornerstone of our academic program and this Cuban connection will only open more doors.”
Farley anticipates a number of universities in the United States will take advantage of this partnership opportunity with Cuba.
“And that is why I am delighted that Illinois College is on the front end. This is a set of relationships that came together over time. We have been working very hard to make this a solid agreement that will open up many more opportunities.”
A formal signing of the agreement will take place on Sunday.