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Signing ceremony of SISSTEM Program

March 27, 2019

Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Culture, Mrs. mr. Xiomara Ruiz-Maduro:

The SISSTEM faculty will give our youth new opportunities to study in Aruba in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and at the same time attract students from other countries, creating a knowledge sharing and international experiences for our students at the University of Aruba.

The SISSTEM faculty will contribute to the government’s effort to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, to create opportunities for diversification of the economy and to stimulate innovation.

This project is possible thanks to the European Union. The European Union has committed the 11th European Development Fund, to support Aruba in its efforts aimed to create a more sustainable development through the introduction of the SISSTEM program at the University of Aruba. Herewith the European Union is supporting the Government of Aruba herewith in the transition to an innovative approach for education, putting the University of Aruba to the forefront in STEM fields. This project will create a SISSTEM Faculty (Sustainable Island Solutions through Sciences, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics) at the University of Aruba.

The European Union will provide support to this project for a total amount of 13.05 million euros, of which 7.3 million euros of said contribution will be implemented in indirect management with UNDP for the physical set-up of the faculty. Part of this amount will be used to renovate the Maria Convent building, installation of the mobile laboratories and equip the multifunctional classrooms. The other part of the contribution will be implemented through a grant of 5.55 million euros to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven for the development of a STEM bachelor program, a master program in sustainability, a PhD program, and the establishment of a research institute as well as of a Caribbean STEM network. The execution of the project will take a maximum of 36 months although the University of Aruba is preparing to start with the bachelor program in September this year.

The Head of the EU Delegation in Guyana with responsibility for Aruba, Ambassador Jernej Videtič, and myself representing the Government of Aruba welcome the signing of the Financing Agreement between the European Union and Aruba. I want to thank the European Union to make this project a reality and a special thanks to the Delegation of the EU in Guyana for all the support given my them during the programing phase. I also want to thank the University of Aruba for having this vision and for supporting the government’s vision for a sustainable development and innovation. Many of you present today have been part or involved in the dialogue and preparation of the proposal for this project and therefor my gratitude for your support. And others will benefit in the near future of the results of these project.

The EU Delegation will also sign with the KULeuven and the UNDP the indirect management for the implementation of both parts of the project. This means the execution of the project will start in the coming weeks and although I know that there is still a lot of work to do, I’m confident that the team behind this project will be dedicated to a successful implementation. Therefore, I want to which success to the members of the Steering Committee, the University of Aruba, KU Leuven, UNDP, the Monuments Bureau and the Department of Economic Affairs together with the support of the representative of the EU Delegation.


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