Dr. Shannon P. Marquez, associate vice provost at Drexel University and director of the Dornsife School of Public Health Office of Global Health, was recognized recently by the University of Cienfuegos for her role in strengthening educational partnerships between the United States and Cuba, specifically in Cienfuegos.
This summer, Marquez led a group of Drexel public health and medical students to Cuba on a two-week intensive course with the explicit goal of analyzing and learning from the health and environmental issues in Cuba. Part of what makes the Cuban system unique and well regarded is that its isolation from many world economies has required doctors to do more with less for decades.
An experiential learning excursion to Cuba has been a long time coming for Drexel students. Even before there were whispers of renewed diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, Marquez had been building relationships to make such a visit possible. Her efforts over five years culminated in December 2015 with an official partnership between Drexel and La Universidad de Cienfuegos to facilitate the experience.
As a sign of increasing partnerships between the U.S. and Cuban educators, the University of Cienfuegos recently opened the first TOEFL/GRE testing center in Cuba outside of the U.S Embassy, with the support of NAFSA: Association of International Educators and the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
Dr. Marquez was recognized during the closing ceremony of the 2016 Workshop of Strategic Alliances for the Internationalization of Higher Education (Cuba TIES 2016), held in October in Cienfuegos, Cuba. This annual conference engages educational leaders, experts, professors, and students from around the world in discussion and debate on issues of partnership, integration, and sustainability.