Spain wants to strengthen its cooperation with Cuba in the education sector, Spanish Acting Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities Pedro Duque, who is visiting the island, confirmed this Monday.
Duque began a two-day trip to Cuba on Monday focused on education, which includes the signing of a bilateral cooperation agreement and a meeting with the first Cuban cosmonaut, General Arnaldo Tamayo.
After his arrival in Havana on Sunday night, the minister began his work schedule this Monday with a meeting with Cuban Deputy Minister of Higher Education Miriam Alpiza. In addition, it is expected that a memorandum of understanding for educational and scientific collaboration between the two countries will be signed.
The agreement will serve to “build an umbrella under which we can make more collaborations between Spain and Cuba, such as joint doctorates or university degrees recognized in both places,” said Duque in a brief appearance before the press.
“It is essential to have a framework that allows us to carry out more activities and put them on the agendas of both countries,” said Duque, quoted by Prensa Latina news agency, adding that “coming to Cuba is very useful, not only to sign agreements, but to exchange. There is a lot of potential here.”
“We also want to take advantage of the enthusiasm shown by Cuban science students to do a PhD, travel, learn in other places, and in that way also contribute to Spanish science,” he added.
Also this Monday, Duke will be meeting with the rectors of the main Cuban universities. In the most emblematic of them, the University of Havana, the meeting between the Spanish minister and General Tamayo is planned, conceived as a talk-colloquium open to the public in which both ex-astronauts reflect on their experiences and other matters.
Duque went down in history in 1998 as the second Spaniard to go into space―some consider him the first because Miguel López-Alegría, who did it three years earlier, had acquired U.S. citizenship―while Tamayo was the first non-U.S. American to achieve this feat almost two decades before, in 1980.
The trip to Havana by the Spanish minister of science, innovation and universities responds to an invitation by Cuban Minister of Higher Education José Ramón Saborido when he visited Madrid in November last year.
In recent years Cuba and Spain have been strengthening their bilateral relations, which crystallized with the visit to Havana of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, also in November last year.
In addition, the state visit of the king and queen of Spain to Cuba is pending, which could take place later this year and would be the first of its kind for a Spanish monarch to the Island, since Juan Carlos I visited it twice although not as part of an official trip.
EFE / OnCuba