Fireside Chat


Today’s Fireside Chat focuses on a groundbreaking opportunity for Delta State made possible by a recent trip President LaForge took to Cuba with 17 other American university presidents.

Delta State was the only Mississippi university to participate this effort to strengthen ties with Cuba as President LaForge and other university presidents visited the island nation to participate in relationship-building discussions with higher education leaders from Cuba.

The trip was made possible by the annual Presidential Mission led by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Each year, AASCU organizes a Presidential Mission to a country or region where member presidents and chancellors have opportunities to explore potential linkages with institutions of higher education.

Perhaps most notable for Delta State is that the trip concluded with the signing of an agreement between AASCU and the higher education community of Cuba. This agreement provides the foundation for future program collaboration and student exchanges.

During the program, the United States delegation met with a network of 34 Cuban rectors, or university presidents — including the leaders of the University of Havana, Medical University of Havana, Polytechnic University and the University of Information Sciences.

Also included in these discussions were Cuba’s minister of education, deputy minister of higher education, director of international relations, and deputy minister of health and welfare. A number of them showed interest in Delta State’s academic opportunities, particularly in the areas of entertainment industry studies, geospatial information technologies, nursing and aviation.

Additionally, the program toured the local area and met with artists and musicians and learned that Cuba is very music-oriented. Cuban education leaders showed great interest in Delta State’s departments of music and art, Delta Music Institute, Bologna Performing Arts Center, and the university’s connections to GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.

In other news, on October 24, Delta State will honor the many different law enforcement agencies who responded so quickly and thoroughly following the campus tragedy on September 14. The university has asked members of each agency to be part of a special recognition ceremony on the football field at halftime during the 6 p.m. game against the University of West Alabama.

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