Three Pillars: Intertwining innovation, education and commitment

Three Pillars: Intertwining innovation, education and commitment

OCTA Innovation under leadership of Mr Milan Jezic von Gesseneck (left on the photo) has developed into an innovation think tank committed to best outcomes in island states in the Atlantic and South Pacific. With innovation as the engine of sustainable development, Milan has lead developing innovation, including a new concept in learning, blended education. From his experience of working in developing countries, he developed a learning methodology that brings together most effortless in-job education, with structured distance learning enabling the students on minimal face to face support (often not available on the islands) to gain from the most advanced education tools and gain valuable qualifications.

In the summer of 2017 University of Aruba and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (University of Leuven) signed a 5-year partnership agreement for the Green Faculty at the University of Aruba. Under leadership of Mr Glenn Thodé (middle on the photo) the Green Faculty encapsulates an academic program focused on research in the field of sustainability, and application of new technologies related to green, renewable energy, in combination with economic and social sciences. The Green Faculty is a major leap forward for all region. By welcoming high-level experts and academic staff, the Green Faculty will, no doubt become the hotbed of learning in the Caribbean. Great work Glenn!

From economic hit-man to protector. Emerging from the world of hard, imperial economics where power is unscrupulously used to further interest of global finance, Mr John Perkins (right on the photo) has been reborn into one of the strongest protectors of natural life and resources. Advising small countries and organizations that protect resources and support economics that respects both environment and societal needs, John is using his economic knowledge and commitment to sustainable and circular economy. We love this work.

On the first sight these three approaches are unrelated. But they form the big picture of economic and societal prosperity in the Overseas Countries and Territories, the Three Pillars.

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Best of luck Cedrick!

Best of luck Cedrick!

We have great experience and pleasure working with Aruba, as one of the leading OCTs in using innovation for propelling prosperity of the country. We have extraordinary cooperation working with Cedrick Tilma, Representative of the Government of Aruba at the EU in developing and implementing  innovation and sustainable growth of islands. With the formation of a new government in Aruba and the retirement of Prime Minister Mike Eman as of November 1st, Cedrick Tilma’s function in Brussels is coming to an end after almost 8 years.

We are grateful for the guidance and support that we had enjoyed in the period particularly when Cedrick Tilma was President of the Executive Committee of Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) as well as later on during Aruba chairmanship of OCTA. Dear Cedrick, thanking you a lot for indeed great cooperation beneficial not only for Aruba, but for all Overseas Countries and Territories of European Union, we all are wishing you the best in your new endeavours.

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OCTA Innovation BRUZZ events

OCTA Innovation BRUZZ events

OCTA Innovation Brussels BRUZZ events rise the visibility of the OCTs through direct interacting with the Brussels audience but also to the world wide audience due to the high OCTA Innovation visibility and due to the high press coverage.

Last BRUZZ event was devoted to Turks and Caicos Islands. Honourable Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson with her team, including Ms. Tracy Knight Turks and Caicos Islands EU representative based in London, addressed Brussels audience in Brussels Press Club last Thursday 13th of July. See photos 

You may watch videos from TEDxAruba BRUZZ  and St-Barthélemy BRUZZ.

Pitcairn’s Innovation Manager Leslie Jaques visit to Brussels concluded in the agreement to have an OCTA Innovation BRUZZ dedicated to Pitcairn in November 2017.

Anguilla’s Innovation Manager Bren Romney visit to Brussels concluded with the agreement to have an BRUZZ event devoted to Innovate Anguilla.

All OCTs are warmly welcomed to benefit having BRUZZ event to create business, investment and  knowledge and experience sharing opportunities with both EU public and private stakeholders!

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Green Faculty becomes reality in Aruba

Green Faculty becomes reality in Aruba

After years of thorough preparations, the Government of Aruba and the University of Aruba are launching a brand new academic research and teaching program in Science, Technology and Engineering (STEM): the Green Faculty. Academic partner in this endeavor is Belgium’s Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven). Representatives of both institutes signed the documents for a five year partnership on June 30th, 2017. Prime Minister Mike Eman committed, with his signature, the Government of Aruba to support the Green Faculty as facilitator and financial partner.

The most innovative university in Europe, according to Reuters Institute, is KU Leuven. This nearly 600-year-old institution was founded by Pope Martin V, but today it’s as much known for technology as for theology: KU Leuven maintains one of the largest independent research and development organizations on the planet. Danny Pieters, vice-rector Humanities and Social Sciences and vice-rector for International Policy was in Aruba earlier this year. “We are fascinated by the sustainable ambitions of Aruba. We were looking for options in this part of the world and Aruba is the perfect partner for us”, he said at that occasion. KU Leuven brings in the initial academic staff, who will educate and train local professors.

The University of Aruba (UA) is a small unique university or can be referred to as an academic institution with interactive classes and much individual attention given to each student. The University of Aruba currently offers degree programs at the Faculties of Law; Accounting, Finance & Marketing; Hospitality, Tourism Management & International Studies; Arts & Science. These Faculties offer educational programs and research activities, as well as services to society. Business Director Patrick Arens explains that the Green Faculty will offer short programs to companies, permanent education for highly educated professionals and a bachelor program for regular students. “In a few years we will add master programs and deliver PhD’s.”

The Government of Aruba strives towards a sustainable Aruba in de broadest sense. The sustainable development is directed towards a better quality of life for the citizens of Aruba. The creation of a new economic pillar based on the knowledge economy, sustainability and innovation is part of this policy, as well as strengthening the ties with the European Union.

The development of the Green Faculty is supported by the European Development Fund for the amount of 13.05 million Euro.

With the creation of the STEM Bachelor program in Sustainability, starting in fall 2018, the UA will provide qualitative and relevant education in Sciences, Technology and Engineering. The Green Faculty will attract students from Aruba as well as from the entire region.

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‘Sunrise Solar Park’ one of the biggest solar parks in the Caribbean Region

‘Sunrise Solar Park’ one of the biggest solar parks in the Caribbean Region

To further raise the sustainability bar in the Aruban energy mix, WEB Aruba N.V recently was handed over 92.000 square meter of land, which was previously owned by the Refinery of Aruba (‘RDA’), following the contract signing of a 5.9 megawatt solar project with partner ISOTRON and the official groundbreaking of the ‘Sunrise Solar Park’ in the east side of the island of Aruba in Lago Heights, San Nicolas.

WEB Aruba is proud to initiate the ‘Sunrise Solar Park’ project. This is a significant event for WEB Aruba because of the 16 million florin investment, and the complete ownership of a project of this magnitude. The Sunrise Solar Park will be one of the biggest solar parks on the island and the Caribbean Region. The solar project is monumental because it states the lowest price achieved for solar photovoltaic (PV) on Aruba to date.

The main focus of the ‘Decentralized Solar Photovoltaic Integrated Project’ is to construct a ground mounted solar PV system in San Nicolas, east side of the island, with a capacity of 5.9 megawatts. In addition to contributing to a more sustainable energy mix, this project supports the government’s agenda of repurposing part of the refinery premises.

This project brings WEB Aruba closer to their goal of completing all solar energy projects that are part of the Aruba Renewable Energy Strategy (‘ARES’) and portfolio. WEB Aruba’s mission is to reach an average of 5% solar energy penetration.

WEB Aruba expresses gratitude to all its departments who have also contributed to the development of this project and also, the Government of Aruba, Utilities Aruba N.V, N.V. Elmar, ISOTRON, Aruba Investment Bank, Brown Lawyers, Refinery of Aruba and CITGO who have played a fundamental role in making the ‘Sunrise Solar Park’ become a reality for the island of Aruba. Find more about Green Aruba

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Bureau of Innovation hosted sold out Coffee Byte Session on E-Commerce in Aruba

Bureau of Innovation hosted sold out Coffee Byte Session on E-Commerce in Aruba

On 26th of April the Bureau of Innovation (BI) hosted their “Coffee Byte Sessions”, a small two-hour learning event on different topics in Aruba’s society in which BI invites experts in their respective fields to discuss and present their knowledge with interested people.

BI invited Mister Atwell Aniceta – Local Representative from CX PAY, to come and share his experience on CX PAY and e-Commerce in Aruba in general. This topic resulted in being a “sold out” event. The invitation shared with BI’s mailing list clearly stated limited seating available – which made everybody invited RSVP within no time.  

With the world changing and customer behavior changing with it, BI decided it was time to invite Merchants to hear what CX PAY can offer when it comes to e-commerce and to point out that there are indeed solutions within Aruba to keep up with the pace of change.

During this event Merchants, Bankers and even Economic Affairs came together and discussed their concerns, idea’s and insight on what would be needed to establish a secure way to e-commerce.

CX PAY is committed to assist the industry with the ultimate goal to maximize sales easily and effectively by creating a securely protected environment against fraud by using the highest level of secure transaction infrastructure available to their clients with a simple “local buying feeling experience”.

What stood out is the possibility to finally receive your money locally on your account within just a few days in a cost effective way. Also present at the Coffee Bytes, CMB / MCB Representative Annelien Tromp-Diaz showing their ongoing support in opening the market for those in need and being one of the steady partners with CX PAY. This way CX PAY presents you with local partners, who understand the market, language plus the supply and demand of customer and merchant. What became clear during this session is how other banks in Aruba have not yet shown their full support on this option, making it difficult for the Merchants to move forward as well.

Overall it was a very informative session, with a lot of different dynamics and the merchants being central in their need to move forward and to become innovative while looking for the right tools to do so.

More on Bureau of Innovation

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The OCTA Innovation International Conference took place in Ponta Delgada, Azores on 11-14 April 2017. It gathered representatives of the Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union (OCTs), the government of the Azores, the European Commission and innovation experts to look at how innovation is spurring sustainable development in small islands and to develop cooperation and future initiatives.

The pillars and values that are the basis of a society were considered as well as the capacities and needs of all stakeholders to underpin them. The implementation of different types and different levels of innovation have been under consideration. The vision of an economically prosperous and inclusive society should be based on innovation and entire collaboration between public and private actors. Innovation should support all stakeholders in society, in both economic and social fields and is perceived as crucial for tackling the issues of natural resources, climate change and sustainable development. The governments have to ensure enabling conditions for propelling innovation. Innovation Managers of the Overseas Countries and Territories of European Union, active members of OCTA Innovation, assembled in the Azores, commit themselves to feeding these dynamics.

Governments must take the lead in systemic innovation across all sectors; fostering partnerships between public and private entities and knowledge sharing and capacity-building. The ambition is to grow a number of thematic and regional centres of excellence among OCTs with a focus on those sectors where individual OCTs are already leading the way, and to share expertise among the OCTs and with regions.

Innovation Managers: Anguilla, Bren Romney; Aruba, Bianca Peters; Bonaire, Dianne Boelmans; British Virgin Islands, Lizette George; Cayman Islands, Jamaal Anderson; Curaçao, Fiona Curie; Falkland Islands, Michael Betts; French Polynesia, Bran Quinquis; Greenland, Lars Balslev; Montserrat, Angela Estwick; New Caledonia, Jean-Michel Le Saux; Pitcairn, Leslie Jaques; Saba, Menno Van der Velde; St. Barthélemy, Pascal Peuchot; St. Helena, Niall O’Keeffe; St. Pierre-et-Miquelon, Olivier Gaston; St. Eustatius, Roy Hooker; St. Maarten, Jude Houston; Turks and Caicos Islands, Alexa Cooper-Grant; Wallis and Futuna, Carole Manry.

OCTA Innovation Team Leader, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck:

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OCTA Innovation Issue 10 / 2017 –  Aruba OCT-EU Forum

OCTA Innovation Issue 10 / 2017 – Aruba OCT-EU Forum

The recent period has involved a lot of commitment for Mr Cedrick Tilma, EU representative of the Government of Aruba at the permanent representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Brussels. He has been representing the Aruba Chairmanship of OCTA to the European Union’s institutions as well as assisting Prime Minister of Aruba, Mike Eman to chair OCTA and to host the 15th OCT-EU Forum in Oranjestad, 20-24th February. Very successful team work has led to great results.

Mr Tilma former President of the OCTA Executive Committee and a member of OCTA Innovation’s Steering Committee, has played a major role in in establishing OCTA Innovation and in propelling innovation in the Overseas Countries and Territories of European Union.

Mr Cedrick Tilma is also working on capacity building, enhancing higher level education and building a Sustainable Energy Roadmap for OCTs, in line with Aruba’s commitment to cut fossil fuel dependency and promote renewable energy using all available tools: technical, economic and regulatory. He says: “The use of renewable sources of energy is a key issue for OCTs to reduce dependency on the import of fossil fuels. The wider use of renewables is one of the top innovation priorities for OCTs.” The use of renewables is also promising for the creation of new jobs, such as in the expanding eco-tourism market, he adds. View the video to find out more.

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