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US Embassy and UB renew American Corner at university’s Oakes Field campus

US Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts and University of The Bahamas (UB) President Dr. Rodney D. Smith have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) renewing the American Corner at UB’s Oakes Field campus.

The MoU signing ceremony, held on December 8, celebrates a renewal of the partnership between the US Embassy and UB, and followed extensive renovations to the space completed during the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person programming could not happen.

Located on the first floor of the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre, the American Corner will be open and available to the general public at least 20 hours a week. Comprised of two separate spaces, the American Corner features a state-of-the-art smart board; flexible and modular furniture; internet connectivity; and a large, open space for events with the requisite physical distance. The space serves as an ideal venue for workshops, presentations, and sessions on entrepreneurship, art, design, photography, social issues, and more.

Pitts spoke fondly of her experiences with libraries growing up on Massachusetts and said she was excited to be in a space where information is exchanged.

“Here, we have a modern advanced version of a library because it includes all the digital tools and technology tools that are now available to improve that exchange of information that really is the bedrock to any democracy,” she said.

Smith said the American Corner has been a functional and much-needed resource.

“Renewing this Memorandum of Understanding speaks not only to the continuation of the space but also to the partnership and friendship that the university shares with the US Embassy,” he said. “It also speaks volumes about the embassy’s and American government’s commitment to community development and support where they have a presence.”

The American Corner is a partnership between the US Embassy and UB and is part of the US Department of State’s global American Spaces Program. American Spaces aim to provide people around the world with accurate, compelling, timely and audience-appropriate information about the US and its history, culture, society, and values. With more than 650 locations worldwide, American Spaces also foster people-to-people connections, increase understanding, and build respect with host country audiences through cultural programs.

The American Corner at UB was established in 2013. Before Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic, the embassy and UB worked together on numerous programs including sessions featuring information on the US, entrepreneurship, roundtables, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) programs, film screenings and public discussions.

Before the MoU signing, Pitts also paid an official courtesy call on Smith. They discussed the many areas of collaboration between the US and UB including support for education, art, and culture in The Bahamas.

Embassy officials said they look forward to a plethora of events at UB, as COVID-19 restrictions allow, and will plan a robust virtual schedule as the world continues to cope with the pandemic.

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