ORANJESTAD–One of Aruba’s historic monuments, the Maria Convent, will be restored with funding of the European Union (EU), with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
After the much-needed restoration, the building will house the Sustainable Island Solutions through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (SISSTEM) faculty of University of Aruba. The ground-breaking ceremony took place earlier this week.
Among the attendees were Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes, Finance Minister Xiomara Maduro and several other ministers, along with representatives of UNDP, University of Aruba and the European Delegations Committee (virtually).
With help from the European Development Fund (EDF), the SISSTEM project received 13 million euros in financial support. The SISSTEM university faculty consists of a bachelor’s degree programme in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), a master’s degree programme and a doctoral PhD research programme that focuses on sustainable development of small island developing states (SIDS).
In 2021, the SISSTEM faculty was successfully introduced at University of Aruba, in collaboration with Leuven University of Belgium. Minister Maduro explained that now, in 2023, after a long search for funding, the ground-breaking could take place so the SISSTEM faculty can have its own building, Maria Convent, situated next to the Pro-Cathedral San Francisco of Assisi in Oranjestad.
Minister Maduro explained that the Maria Convent building was constructed in the year 1920. Upon completion, the Dominican Sisters of Voorschoten, the Netherlands, moved into the newly constructed building. In 1946, the first stone was placed for the chapel.
In the ’50s, 23 sisters were living in the convent until its closure in the ’80s. The building was handed over to the Aruba government and was renovated in 1995. In 1996, the building was home to the Department of Culture, the Department of Foreign Affairs and for a short while, the Aruba Parliament was housed in the convent’s chapel during the renovation of the Parliament Hall.
“With the restoration of this unique monument to its former glory, we can continue telling its history, while assisting with the formation of students who will contribute to Aruba’s sustainable development,” Maduro said.
Bron: Daily Herald