Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago is the director of The Community Leadership Center at Rutgers University in Camden, which is internationally partnered with the University of Havana, in Cuba, and the Center for Puerto Rico. These collaborations serve to develop new programs and certifications at the universities and to create opportunities for students and faculty.
Currently, the Center at Rutgers is collaborating with the Center for Puerto Rico in an effort to develop new programs in social work. This proposal, prepared by Professor Rubén Estremera (Ph. D.-Ed.D.), professor of the Social Work Department of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, aims to create a certificate in Community Development and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy & Administration with specialization in community development.
International Studies through Rutgers at Puerto Rico
Dr. Santiago is currently overseeing Geoconda Idrovo and Natasha Young, two students who are part of the MPA (Master in Public Administration) program at Rutgers University in Camden, are doing overseas service interning in Puerto Rico at the Center for Puerto Rico, the programmatic arm of the Sila M. Calderón Foundation.
One project they are undertaking is a feasibility study focused on community development, through Rutgers’ MPA program. Idrovo and Young are currently involved in data collection, and are helping to produce an in-depth proposal for program accreditation in Puerto Rico.
Another project the pair of MPA students is undertaking centers around expanding the Center for Puerto Rico’s Green Market Initiatives (Mercado Verde). The project provides women in agriculture with spaces for selling and marketing their products, and is including a focus on sustainable agriculture by creating workshops engineered to promote urban farming, the sharing of new techniques, and consumption of locally grown food. This project has given Idrovo and Young the chance to collaborate with community organizations, university professors, technical experts, and local business owners to develop a strategy centered around achieving the desired goals for the project.
Of course, when they are not hard at work, they’re enjoying the beach, soaking up the year-round sunshine.
International Studies through Rutgers at Cuba
Academic experts and scholars from the U.S. and Cuba will share best practices and expand knowledge across a variety of STEAM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) and Community Development at the International Conference on Cuba October 31st- November 3rd, 2016.
The week begins with a public conference, followed by faculty collaboration meetings and site visits to community projects. The collaboration culminates in a strengthened relationship between Rutgers University and the University of Havana, including a spring trip to Cuba on March 2017.