Suffolk County Community College recently welcomed Ambassador Neil Parsan, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States of America and Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the Organization of American States (OAS). In front of a group of over 150 students and College administrators, Dr. Parsan shared general information about Trinidad and Tobago. The day's program, which included a presentation by the Ambassador and a joint Q&A; session with the College's President Dr. Shaun L. McKay, was well attended and provided the audience with an opportunity to gain insight into the economic and business linkages between our two countries. When referring to his childhood and his progression toward becoming Ambassador, Dr. Parsan told the audience, "I did not consider being poor as a state of mind, to me it was a catalyst for changing my circumstances."
Dr. Parasan's visit is the third in a series of high-level conversations that have been arranged between the College and the government of Trinidad and Tobago. In August 2010, government ministers from Trinidad and Tobago visited the College, where they had the opportunity to meet with over 70 elected officials, regional business and education leaders and senior SUNY officials to explore areas of possible collaboration and seeking to advance that country's interests in a wide range of areas. The August visit was organized as a trade, economic development, research and education discussion, with potential to lead to bi-lateral agreements with Trinidad and Tobago.
In October 2010, Dr. Emmanuel Gonsalves, President of the College of Science, Technology, and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT), scheduled a follow-up visit with SUNY's Long Island colleges and universities. This second meeting provided the institutions with an opportunity to discuss major areas of mutual interest, including research and development, workforce development, program development and faculty-to-faculty exchanges. At the conclusion of this second meeting, a working group was formed to advance toward the creation of formal memorandums of understanding establishing strategic alliances between COSTAATT and each SUNY institution.