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.