The University of Southern Mississippi and the Technological University of Panama Wednesday (Aug. 11) signed a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions, opening the doors for enhanced collaboration on new academic and economic development opportunities.
“This trip is all about building relationships with one of the most dynamic countries in the Western Hemisphere,” stated Dr. Martha Saunders, president of The University of Southern Mississippi. “Partnerships developed here can mean a lot to Mississippi. Southern Miss is proud to be involved.”
Prospective areas of initial collaboration with the Panamanian university, the country’s designated engineering school, include safety and construction, coastal engineering and security for mass events.
Saunders is part of a 13-member delegation visiting the country this week with a goal of strengthening ties between Mississippi and Panama. Others in the delegation include Mississippi Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, Area Development Partnership President Chad Newell,
Dr. Susan Steen, director of International Programs, Chad Driskell, executive assistant to the president, and Dr. Tulio Sulbaran, director of the Center for Logistics, Trade and Transportation at Southern Miss.
Representatives of the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport were also part of the delegation in Panama this week as they signed a Sisterhood Agreement with the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City.
“The potential from the Mississippi and Panama relationship is a tremendous opportunity for the continued development of economic diversification, tourism, sharing of information and the development of ports and airports,” said Lt. Gov. Bryant.
The Southern Miss delegation also visited the International Maritime University of Panama (IMUP) to give an update on development of the Center for Logistics, Trade and Transportation. Last year, Southern Miss penned an agreement with IMUP and the University of Panama aimed at expanding research and academic programs between the universities.
Earlier this summer, Southern Miss students majoring in construction management and hospitality management programs participated in the inaugural Panama Study Abroad program, traveling to the Central American nation to view firsthand the country’s burgeoning construction and tourism industries.