SINT MAARTEN (CUPECOY) - On Thursday June 14, 2018 representatives of the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) met with Member of Parliament (MP) Silveria E. Jacobs, Chair of Committee Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs (CECYSA), in an introductory meeting to update on the current status of medical facility post Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The discussion was also aimed at broadening the relationships with its partners here on the island of St. Maarten.
Dr. Heidi Chumley, Executive Dean of AUC introduced her delegation which consisted of the newly appointed President of AUC, Dr. Cathy Boden-Holland, Eric P. Mitchell, Director Government Relations for parent company ADATLEM Global Education, formerly DeVry Inc., as well as known Sr. Administrator Campus Operations Hazarie Ramoutar.
Dr. Chumley further updated the CECYSA Chairlady on the progress with the return eighty percent of students to the local campus from the UK where they had relocated after the passage of the hurricanes had destroyed most of the living accommodations of students and professors.
The graduation ceremony for the class of 2018 did take place in Florida in conjunction with their sister school, however the class from the St. Maarten Campus still felt a touch of home, as AUC organized for the Generation New Status drum band under the leadership of Youmay Dormoy to travel and perform at the graduation in Florida.
Dr. Boden-Holland expressed great pleasure at being in St. Maarten, and awe at the performance of our youth musicians in the US. She further stated that the recovery of St. Maarten was phenomenal and surprisingly ahead of most Caribbean islands.
Dr. Chumley informed of great plans which came about as a result of the storms, including collaborating with Harvard University upon their request to establish a Disaster Management Center of Excellence here on St. Maarten.
Another project is the establishment of a campus in the UK. These opportunities can be seen as a silver lining in the aftermath of hurricane Irma, where opportunities where presented and partnerships where strengthened. AUC is eager and very positive about the future as it concerns St. Maarten’s potential in the fields of science and education.
AUC has also expressed desire to partner with the University of St. Maarten in a mutually beneficial scenario where both institutions will greatly benefit from one another’s resources and affirm relationship building that will improve the current educational product.
AUC was approached by a disaster medicine group from Harvard to develop a Disaster Medicine framework, as St. Maarten has a lot to offer in the area educational and science development.
CECYSA Chair MP Jacobs further thanked AUC for the meeting request, as the information was very encouraging in the area of Education Tourism and possibilities for upgrading and supplementing opportunities for St. Maarten to grow. She further thanked AUC for their exemplary work and many projects that are executed whereby the impact is felt throughout the community.
MP Jacobs closed by informing AUC representatives that they would be invited to update the Committee ECYSA in a formal committee meeting of Parliament after the summer break.