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Southern Miss signs pact with Panamanians

HATTIESBURG — The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and the Technological University of Panama have signed a memorandum of understanding, opening the door for enhanced collaboration on new academic and economic development opportunities.

“This trip is all about building relationships with one of the most dynamic countries in the Western Hemisphere,” said Dr. Martha Saunders, president of USM. “Partnerships developed here can mean a lot to Mississippi. Southern Miss is proud to be involved.”

Prospective areas of initial collaboration with the Panamanian university, the country’s designated engineering school, include safety and construction, coastal engineering and security for mass events.

Saunders is part of a 13-member delegation visiting the country this week with a goal of strengthening ties between Mississippi and Panama. Others in the delegation include Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, Area Development Partnership president Chad Newell, Dr. Susan Steen, director of International Programs, Chad Driskell, executive assistant to the president, and Dr. Tulio Sulbaran, director of the Center for Logistics, Trade and Transportation at Southern Miss.

Representatives of the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport were also part of the delegation in Panama as they signed a Sisterhood Agreement with the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City.

The USM delegation also visited the International Maritime University of Panama (IMUP) to give an update on development of the Center for Logistics, Trade and Transportation. Last year, Southern Miss signed an agreement with IMUP and the University of Panama aimed at expanding research and academic programs between the universities.

Earlier this summer, USM students majoring in construction management and hospitality management programs participated in the inaugural Panama Study Abroad program, traveling to the Central American nation to view firsthand the country’s construction and tourism industries.

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