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New scholarship agreement signed with the Dominican Republic

Posted 26 October

“International education is an important component of our work at Harper Adams and we are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Dominican Republic in this way.”

The signing of the MESCYT student scholarship agreement with Minister Dr Alejandrina Germán

The signing of the MESCYT student scholarship agreement with Minister Dr Alejandrina Germán

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn, recently visited the Dominican Republic (DR) accompanied by the country’s Ambassador to the UK, Dr Federico Cuello, and Dr Leticia Chico-Santamarta. The University has had a student scholarship agreement with the DR Government since 2014, and the visit provided an opportunity for this to be extended with a new agreement running until 2020.

Dr Llewellyn and Dr Chico-Santamarta met first with the Vice-Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Gómez, and colleagues at the Ministry for Higher Education, Science and Technology (MESCYT) in Santo Domingo. The meeting included an update on the work of the University in agricultural technologies, including the recently completed Hands Free Hectare project.

Discussions with the Vice-Rector for Management and Extension, Dr Espaillat, and the Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Dr Sanchis, of the National University of Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU) were equally positive, with interest in postgraduate education and the development of joint research proposals.

This was followed, the next day, by a meeting with the Vice-Minister of Planning at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Winston Marte, where opportunities to run industry-based short courses for the DR agri-food sector were explored.

The signing of the agreement took place at MESCYT with the Minster, Dr Alejandrina Germán. A number of Vice-Ministers and senior officials of the Ministry were present and the signing ceremony was extensively covered by national television and radio news, and by the DR press. The new agreement will enable student scholars from the DR to study in the UK on a range of postgraduate courses, including at doctoral level.

A meeting with the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), another leading higher education institution in the DR, provided the chance for the Harper Adams delegation to meet former MESCYT scholar, Lina Dileyni Diaz, in the presence of the senior staff of the Faculty of Agricultural and Veterinary Science and its Dean, Dr Reyes. Lina, who now works for the DR Ministry of Agriculture, spoke warmly of her time at Harper Adams and her experience of being in the UK.

It was then time to see some of the tropical produce grown in the DR, with a trip outside Santo Domingo to the CONACADO cacao co-operative in Yamasa. Not only does the co-operative work with around 8,500 cacao producers across the country, but it also provides training and social assistance to growers and their families in a variety of ways, and it has an emerging eco-tourism business for visitors who wish to know more about chocolate production. Among other international customers the co-operative supplies the UK’s Green and Blacks chocolate company.

A meeting with the UK Ambassador to the DR, Chris Campbell, proved helpful in learning more about the Embassy’s role in supporting the Government’s GREAT Education campaign to encourage students to study in the UK, as well as its work on promoting international trade opportunities. The discussion was extremely positive and it was clear that the Embassy is working hard to foster good links with the DR Government, trade organisations and industry within the country.

Finally, another trip outside Santo Domingo, this time to the Rica Group citrus fruit processing plant and Rizek Cacao, enabled Dr Llewellyn, Dr Chico-Santamarta and Dr Cuello to see further examples of food and drink production in practice and to discuss graduate careers in the DR agri-food sector.

Speaking about the visit, Dr Llewellyn said: “We could not have asked for a warmer welcome from our Government, university and industry hosts this week, and I should like to pass on my thanks to them all for their hospitality and kindness.

“It was wonderful to be able to meet so many senior members of the Government in such a short time, and to be able to sign our new agreement with the Ministry of Higher Education.

“In particular, I should like to thank the Minister, Dr Germán, for her support for our collaboration which we hope will allow DR students to gain from studying in the UK so that they can later assist the development of the agri-food sector in the Dominican Republic.

“International education is an important component of our work at Harper Adams and we are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Dominican Republic in this way.”

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