June 16, 2021
Students of University of The Bahamas (UB) and Elmira College (EC) in New York now have another opportunity to study abroad and gain cross-cultural exposure in an increasingly global community courtesy of a freshly executed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a student exchange programme.
On Monday, 14th June 2021, senior administrators announced the programme which will allow students from both institutions the opportunity to study at their counterpart institution for one semester, and earn academic credits from the host institution towards their academic degrees.
During a virtual press conference, UB President Dr. Rodney D. Smith lauded the MOU as supportive of UB’s value proposition of preparing students for better lives in a global society, and touted the new partnership as the catalyst for enhancing UB students’ appreciation for multiculturalism and diversity.
“In light of the global challenges we are facing due to COVID-19, University of The Bahamas remains steadfast and resilient in pursuit of providing unprecedented opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Smith. “And we welcome this generous and noble partnership with Elmira College. I expect that students will take full advantage of this study abroad experience.”
Elmira College President Dr. Charles Lindsay agreed. With over 100 EC alumni presently residing in The Bahamas, and countless other Bahamians making a meaningful impact on campus life at Elmira College, Dr. Lindsay said he is ecstatic over the opportunities the MOU will provide students to study in The Bahamas.
“I think the agreement with the University of The Bahamas will enable our students to take advantage of the many opportunities at University of The Bahamas to have this culturally enriching experience and provide them with a meaningful study abroad experience,” said Dr. Lindsay. “And vice versa, we can build on the rich experience that we’ve been able to afford Bahamian students who are brave enough to come to New York.
“I’m looking forward to working with President Smith and the entire team at University of The Bahamas to deepen our relationship and look forward to a very fruitful future.”
According to Elmira College Trustee and President of Arawak Homes Limited, Mr. Franon Wilson, the collaboration is the latest development in EC’s commitment to deepening its longstanding and rich relationship with the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. He noted that Elmira College has been intrinsically linked to The Bahamas for decades, providing access to tertiary education for Bahamians since before UB’s antecedent, the College of The Bahamas (COB), came into being.
He noted that Elmira College has, since 1973, consistently sent students to study at the Gerace Research Centre (GRC) in San Salvador – now the Gerace Research Institute – of which Elmira College was a founding member. Elmira College has also consistently offered the government of The Bahamas two full tuition scholarships to date, and has remained a loyal partner in the Sunshine Insurance Elmira College essay competition, which has offered over $1 million in scholarships tenable at the EC since 2003, Mr. Wilson said.
“The MOU that is being signed today does not replace the two full scholarships that Elmira College offers the Government of The Bahamas every year, nor does it replace the scholarships being offered and awarded to the Elmira College Sunshine Insurance essay competition every year,” said Mr. Wilson. “The MOU signed today with University of The Bahamas is another way that Elmira College is deepening its relationship with the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. We look forward to this relationship continuing to move forward, upward, onward, together.”
Vice President of Academic Affairs at UB Dr. Maria Oriakhi said from an academic perspective, the new partnership will allow Elmira College and UB to develop joint programmes of national and global significance in areas where the capacity at UB might be limited. For example, Elmira College’s environmental studies programme might find a lot of synergy with UB’s small island sustainability initiative. Additionally, there are opportunities for faculty exchange and faculty engagement with cross-cultural research, which can improve policy directions and address universal challenges in areas like environmental studies, sociology, and anthropology.
“This will enable our students to engage in study abroad experiences at Elmira, thereby giving them the opportunity to broaden their cross-cultural horizons, to experience a different environment in terms of climate, and to examine their roles as local citizens,” said Dr. Oriakhi. “Similarly, Elmira students and faculty will be able to expand their cross-cultural horizon and have the opportunity to examine their roles as global citizens.
“If we as a national higher education institution are to achieve excellence in our academic pursuits and respond to the needs of the local and global economies, it is critical that we work in collaboration with our hemispheric and global partners.”