New York Public University Systems Embark on Multilateral Academic Collaborations with Dominican Republic Education Ministries

December 7, 2018

New York – Leaders from the City University of New York (CUNY) and The State University of New York (SUNY) today joined Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Dominican Republic Consul General Carlos Castillo and education officials from the Dominican Republic to formalize their commitment to embark on a series of necessary and valuable academic collaborations. The joint agreements are between CUNY, SUNY, the State Education Department, and the Dominican government ministries that oversee K-12 and higher education. The initiative, spearheaded by Rep. Espaillat, will enable colleges and universities to develop teacher trainings, academic exchange programs, and collaborative research in the areas of energy and the environment, management and mitigation of disasters, and information and communication technologies, among others. CUNY and SUNY count a total of more than 40,000 students who are of Dominican descent.

New York’s two public university systems were represented at Friday’s signing ceremony at the SUNY Global Center by CUNY Board of Trustees Chairperson William C. Thompson Jr. and Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz; SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall, and Sally Crimmins Villela, SUNY Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs. They joined Espaillat, Castillo, Minister Alejandrina Germán of the Dominican Republic Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, and Vice Minister Victor Sánchez of the Dominican Ministry of Education.

"Education plays a critical role in upward mobility for students and teachers, and this holds especially true for vulnerable and low-income communities," said Rep. Espaillat. "It remains critical that we work together to ensure a solid foundation for innovation, progress, and achievement to better prepare our students and teachers for a global competitive society today and in the future. I am proud of the work with have accomplished to bring forth this agreement that will have a tremendous benefit on students today and future students with the SUNY, CUNY system."

"This agreement represents a great opportunity for New York’s CUNY and SUNY students to learn, develop and strengthen ties with the Dominican Republic," said New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. "Among New York’s foreign-born residents, the majority are from the Dominican Republic. These are our true neighbors and we are proud to work together to see students thrive."

"As America’s great urban university system, the diversity of CUNY’s student population mirrors that of New York, the world’s most diverse city," said CUNY Board of Trustees Chairperson William C. Thompson Jr. "Just as Dominicans constitute the largest immigrant group in the five boroughs, they represent the largest ethnic group in the university, with more than 22,500 undergraduates and 1,200 graduate students who comprise 8.7 percent of CUNY’s total enrollment. In an important sense, then, we are all one people – and it will behoove us all to make the most of this great opportunity."

"We are thrilled to enter into this momentous partnership with our colleagues here and in the Dominican Republic, a place that many New Yorkers think of as home," said SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall. "My special thanks to Congressman Adriano Espaillat for his foresight to bring us all together and arrange for our first meeting with President Danilo Medina. It is evident the country’s priorities include education, and we are proud to partner on the STEM fields and teacher training, while enhancing student and faculty exchange."

"We at CUNY are delighted to enter framework agreements with the Education Ministries of the Dominican Republic," said CUNY Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz. "Students of Dominican descent number over 22,000 at CUNY, and are a key constituency for our University. One of the well-conceived aspects of these framework agreements is that they are open-ended in regard to their potential application. We could establish new pipelines for students who receive an associate degree to continue working toward a bachelor’s degree. We could create channels to more easily enable students to pursue graduate studies. Through the sharing of knowledge and collaborations among faculty, we can help each other to master and apply needed forms of pedagogy in areas, such as the STEM fields, that have been identified for strategic impact. We can broaden students’ horizons of experience, give them the expectation, and – eventually – the assurance, that they can thrive in their professional lives wherever they chose to practice."

"SUNY students’ lives are further enriched when excellence in education is matched with applied learning experiences," said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. "That’s why we’re pleased to have a significant role in this collaboration with CUNY, the Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology of the Dominican Republic, and the New York State Education Department. Strategic partnerships are imperative, especially as we focus on training and scientific research, as well as arts, humanities, and other fields of study."

Each New York university system will enter into an independent agreement with each Dominican ministry, and the agreement signed Friday provided a framework for future arrangements between the individual universities and colleges in each system. In practice, each institution will explore ways in which they might develop academic cooperation through future projects, programs and activities. These could include the development of refined trainings for primary and secondary school teachers; exchange initiatives that provide academic and professional experiences; and sharing of academic and scientific information of mutual interest, and participation in international networks and events.

About the City University of New York

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, CUNY counts 13 Nobel Prize and 23 MacArthur ("Genius") grant winners among its alumni. CUNY students, alumni and faculty have garnered scores of other prestigious honors over the years in recognition of historic contributions to the advancement of the sciences, business, the arts and myriad other fields. The University comprises 25 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, CUNY Graduate Center, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, CUNY School of Law, CUNY School of Professional Studies and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 275,000 degree-seeking students. CUNY offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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