The Honorable Carl Greenidge, Foreign Minister and Vice President of Guyana, spoke at MEC on Tuesday about â€œthe promise of oilâ€ and its impact on Guyanaâ€™s development. Earlier this year oil companies announced the successful drilling of a well in Guyanaâ€™s coastal waters and the expectation of the biggest oil and natural gas discoveries in decades. Experts estimate that Guyanaâ€™s recoverable oil is worth as much as $200 billion. The major â€œchallenge of managing a resource,â€ as Minister Greenidge put it, will be on two tracks: fighting disputes about oil ownership and borders with neighboring Venezuela and attracting and keeping a skilled workforce. Mr. Greenidge was upbeat and hopeful, as he discussed Guyanaâ€™s rich and colorful history and its bright future.
Mr. Greenidgeâ€™s talk inaugurated a new offering from the School of Science, Health and Technology called â€œConversations With Dean Blackman.â€ Its intent, said Dean Terrence Blackman, is to connect the School and the College to important issues anywhere in the world.
â€œThe goal is to learn how our speakers are leveraging science, technology, global strategy, and policy to connect young people to opportunities,â€ according to Dean Blackman.
Mr. Greenidgeâ€™s speech, held in the Presidentâ€™s Conference Center in the Bedford Building, attracted an overflow gathering of faculty, students and community members. The audience asked about the possibility of corruption in the fledgling oil industry and what it might mean for education and international connections. Others asked about educational exchanges for faculty research and student study.
MEC already has a Statement of Shared Interests with the University of Guyana, with an agreement to explore ways to promote and develop academic cooperation between the two institutions. Â MEC is committed to fostering institutional exchanges between students, faculty and research scholars, as well as exchanging academic material. Â The two institutions also want to develop joint academic initiatives in both research and education, among other things.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana has visited MEC twice in the last two years as part of efforts to actualize the shared interests. The conversation on Tuesday marked another step in the evolution of that dialogue, Dean Blackman said.