H.E. Mr. Gabriel Tiel Capote, Ambassador of Cuba to Pakistan, visited COMSATS Secretariat on 22nd September 2017. The Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. S.M. Junaid Zaidi, had invited His Excellency for a briefing on COMSATS in order to seek his support for encouraging Cuba and Cuban institutions to join COMSATS. Senior officials of COMSATS were also present during the meeting.
Welcoming the Ambassador, Dr. Zaidi expressed his appreciation of Cuba for playing an exemplary role in healthcare globally. He acknowledged the support of Cuba towards the capacity building of Pakistan in the past, whereby about 900 Pakistani doctors graduated from Cuban universities. He introduced COMSATS to His Excellency as a novel idea of the noble laureate, Dr. Abdul Salam, based on the commonality of issues and gap in Science and Technology based development in the countries of the South. He also presented to the Ambassador the history, structure, operations and technical programmes of the organization.
Dr. Zaidi also introduced the three statutory bodies of COMSATS. The Commission, which is the top-most forum of the organization, with the Heads of 25 Member States as its member is chaired by the President of Ghana. The Ministerial level Consultative Committee provides policy guidelines, while the Coordinating Council includes the CEOs of the 21 Centers of Excellence comprising the organization’s Network. The Network, apart from the Council, has a technical advisory committee that provides technical foresight for the organization’s programmes. Dr. Zaidi also briefed the Ambassador on the flagship projects of COMSATS including the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), COMSATS Internet Services (CIS), and a Tele-health project. The joint research in key areas of interest to developing countries being undertaken by COMSATS International Thematic Research Groups (ITRGs) was also highlighted. It was noted that Cuba has a few excellent universities and R&D Centres, including the Havana University, which can participate in the COMSATS’ ITRG programme.
The Ambassador was also informed about the benefits of joining COMSATS including the exchange of scholarly contributions, scholarship opportunities at COMSATS Centers of Excellence, and participation in capacity building events. In this connection, he also informed him about the voluntary Annual Membership Contribution by the member states that is used as a trust fund. The Executive Director invited Cuba to join COMSATS as a Member State, in order to fully avail the opportunities available at this forum for South-South cooperation in science and technology.
The honourable Ambassador thanked the Executive Director COMSATS for his warm hospitality, and expressed pleasure to have learnt about the ongoing activities of COMSATS. He considered COMSATS an important platform for the promotion of South-South cooperation for achieving S&T led socio-economic progress in developing countries. He thanked COMSATS for the offer of membership to Cuba, and pledged to follow-up the matter with the Cuban government in due course of time. He informed the participants about the recent initiatives taken by the Cuban government for strengthening S&T sector in the country.
Before departure, the honourable Ambassador was presented COMSATS’ informational material and a Shield by the Executive Director.