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Higher Education and the 2030 Agenda to be discussed in Havana

Universidad 2018Faced with the challenges of meeting the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the education sector, and in the context of the centennial of the Argentine university reform of 1918, Cuba will once again host researchers, academics and university professors, at the 11th International Congress of Higher Education, Universidad 2018, which will run February 12 through 16, in Havana’s International Conference Center.

Providing a space to share knowledge and exchange between different higher education institutions from around the world, the slogan for this year’s Congress is “The University and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” This is one of the main regional events in the field, according to Cuban Minister of Higher Education José Ramón Saborido Loidi, not only because of the high number of participants and the quality of the works presented, but because of the novel themes that are discussed.

More than 2,000 international participants from 60 countries, and more than 500 Cuban researchers, are set to attend Universidad 2018. The event will also see the attendance of Education ministers and deputy ministers, public policy secretaries, more than 300 rectors of some of the leading universities in the world, directors of international organizations and academic networks, and more than 100 speakers, according to María Victoria Villavicencio Plasencia, director of International Relations of the Ministry of Higher Education.

Speaking during a press conference this Monday, February 5, she noted that among the main personalities to participate are the Argentine political scientist Atilio Borón; Spanish journalist Ignacio Ramonet; General ecretary of the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture, Paulo Speller; and David Atchoarena, director of the Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems at UNESCO, among others.

An extensive program published on the event’s website ( includes the holding of keynotes lectures, round tables, panels, workshops, courses, visits and an associated exhibition, which reveals the work of international organizations and Cuban and foreign universities, as revealed by the Organizing Committee.

In addition to the broad scientific exchange, Villavicencio said the event is a space to sign agreements, identify opportunities for cooperation, and establish alliances between different Higher Education institutions.

It was also reported that the selection process of papers by Cuban researchers was conducted across the universities and provincial workshops of the entire country; while the nations with the largest participation are Nicaragua, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Panama, Peru, Venezuela, Germany, Spain, France, Angola and Mozambique, while more than 70 delegates from the United States will attend.

Marta del Carmen Mesa, deputy minister of Higher Education, commented on the relationship between the themes of Universidad 2018 and the objectives of the 2030 Agenda, which demonstrates Cuba’s will to ensure the sustainable development goals are met, as “one of the few countries that came close to meeting all the Millennium Development Goals.”

On the centennial of the Argentine university reform of 1918, Saborido added that Cuba is preparing its framework of action to present to the Regional Conference on Higher Education, to be held in Argentina in June, and for which this event will undoubtedly be a fundamental step.


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