Havana, Cuba.- Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Monday chaired the inauguration of the 12th University 2020 International Congress on Higher Education, which is being held under the slogan ‘The University and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.

The opening lecture was given by Higher Education Minister Jose Ramon Saborido, who noted the need to strengthen the role of university teaching as a factor for social transformation for the benefit of the peoples.

‘This event is characterized by promoting a space for dialogue to implement several indicators of the 2030 Agenda, such as the management of knowledge and the mobilization, increase and efficient use of our human and scientific potential,’ Saborido pointed out.

He added that it has been a big challenge to mobilize so many colleagues from several countries despite the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States for more than half a century to make the Cuban Revolution surrender.

He ratified that the US blockade, tightened aggressively after the activation of the Helms-Burton Act, a political and illegal instrument of an extraterritorial nature, is the biggest obstacle for Cuba’s socioeconomic development.

‘Worldwide, some achievements have been made in treating higher education as a public asset, but the differences among regions are still huge, both internally and in each country,’ he underlined.

The minister went on to say that the main strength of each Cuban university is being integrated into a higher education system that makes consensual curricula such as scientific modernization and educational training based on cooperation, without undermining the autonomy in the decision-making process.

‘We plan with this event to make an impact on local development by providing knowledge, strategies, technologies and innovation that will contribute to identifying the potentialities for export and reducing imports to achieve productive chains, he said.

More than 2,000 academics, researchers, professors and educational officials from over 50 countries are meeting in Havana at the University 2020 Congress, which will close on February 14.