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President Michael D. Higgins Meets with Two Trinity College Dublin Students on his Recent State Visit to Cuba

Posted on 22 February 2017

Pictured above are Trinity students Mark MacQuillan and Sarah Conway meeting with President Higgins during his visit to Cuba. Photo courtesy of Maxwells Photography.

President Michael D. Higgins met with two Trinity College Dublin students on his recent State visit to Cuba, the first ever by an Irish President. Mark MacQuillan and Sarah Conway are currently studying in Havana, as a result of Trinity’s recent membership of the CASA Consortium.   In June 2016, Trinity joined the prestigious consortium, becoming the tenth CASA member and the first CASA partner institution based outside of the United States.

CASA is a non-profit consortium of ten leading research universities. The consortium was established to provide a framework to facilitate student mobility internationally through the establishment of study-centres around the world. The first CASA Study Centre was set up in Havana, Cuba in 2015.  The nine current US-based CASA member institutions are world-leading Universities: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, The University of Pennsylvania, and Vanderbilt University.  

Sarah and Mark are both students of Spanish, within the European Studies degree programme in Trinity, and are required to spend their third year studying abroad through their major language.  

At the CASA Divisional Study Centre in Havana, Sarah and Mark study alongside about 20 students from US Universities and the University of Havana, pursuing accredited courses delivered through Spanish both by staff from the Casa de Las Americas, Cuba’s leading think-tank on Latin-American and Caribbean Studies and the University of Havana. They also attend some classes in the University of Havana. As this is not a traditional exchange programme, the study carries a tuition cost. Mark and Sarah’s tuition expenses have been covered thanks to scholarships from a generous legacy gift left by the late Mr Benjamin Oakley, an Engineering graduate (B.A.I. ’56). His gift, which was left for the general use of the College, has provided these students the opportunity to participate on this new and exciting programme in Cuba.

Pictured here are students Sarah Conway and Mark MacQuillan after President Higgins’ address to the Society for Irish Latin American Studies in Havana, with Prof. Jane Ohlmeyer (Director Trinity Long Room Hub) a keynote speaker at the Conference, and Sinéad Ryan, Director of Internationalisation

Mark and Sarah met the President at a private meet and greet with Irish families based in Cuba. The students also participated in the launch of an exhibition on the Irish in Latin America and other elements of the programme of the biannual conference of the Society of Irish Latin American Studies, which took place during the President’s visit. 


Newsfeed Image: Trinity students Mark and Sarah with CASA Centre Resident Director Rainer Schulz