The partnership could lead to faculty and student exchanges between the Ellensburg university and a university in Cuba.

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Central Washington University is one of just 12 institutions across the country chosen to participate in a U.S. – Cuban partnership program that could one day lead to an exchange between faculty and students at CWU and a Cuban university.

Exactly what form the exchange will take has yet to be worked out, said Ann Radwan, the executive director of international studies and programs for CWU. First, the university must identify the Cuban universities that seem like a good fit for a partnership. Then, the schools must  figure out which activities would offer the most benefit in an exchange. Those might include faculty and student exchanges and short-term degree programs.

“This has the potential to be a university-wide program, with many facets,” she said.

Three CWU faculty members will travel to five or six cities in Cuba this fall to meet with some prospective university partners and start that discussion, Radwan said. There are 60 universities in Cuba.

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The program is called the International Academic Partnership Program and is being administered by the nonprofit Institute of International Education, which is well known for its annual count of the number of international students studying at U.S. universities.

Why CWU? The Ellensburg university was picked because of its status as a comprehensive university with a variety of programs, a good ratio of professors to students and the quality of the faculty.