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UL Lafayette and Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana announce partnership

April 20, 2021 Tunica Biloxi Partnership, Spring 2021-2-X5.jpg
UL Tunica Biloxi partnership.jpg
Posted at 1:50 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 19:54:33-04

A new partnership has been formed between the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana.

UL Lafayette says that the partnership will advance the shared missions of improving Louisiana and provide resources for the Tribe's 1,300 Tribal citizens in Louisiana and around the country.

The partnership was formalized by UL Lafayette president Dr. Joseph Savoie and Tunica-Biloxi Tribe chairman Marshall Pierite during a signing ceremony on Tuesday, April 20 at the LITE Center.

"Collaborations such as these are essential to our state. By aligning resources toward a common mission, this partnership between the University and the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe will strengthen the state's economic landscape today and nurture future economic growth," Savoie said.

"This collaboration is good for the University and for the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. Ultimately, it's the people of Louisiana who will benefit."

Pierite said that "this mutually-beneficial partnership will not only open doors for our Tribe, but allow us to make an impact on the development of our state and region."

"From public health to energy and more, we are working together to address some of the most critical topics in our region. We are extremely grateful to UL Lafayette for their collaboration and look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together," Pierite added.

The University says the partnership will focus on several key areas, including renewable and traditional energy sources; economic, workforce and community development through entrepreneurship, business cultivation, financial literacy and hospitality management; public, mental and behavioral health and other life sciences; and information technology, including broadband applications such as telehealth and e-learning.

The partnership includes research collaborations, technical assistance, consultation, training and workforce development in a number of economic areas and industries, including traditional and sustainable energy resources.

Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, UL Lafayette's vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development, explained that one of the focal areas of the partnership will capitalize on the university's longstanding role as a leader in energy research to help the Tribe as it explores alternative and conventional energy sources.

Other fields of collaboration include mental and behavioral health, hospitality management, financial literacy, and information technology, including broadband applications such as telehealth and e-learning.

A memorandum of understanding signed Tuesday, according to UL Lafayette, will create an environment of mutual support that advances economic development for the Tribe through the University's applied research and workforce development programs. The university says the partnership will advance the Tribe and UL Lafayette's shared goal of improving the state and will provide crucial resources for the Tribe's 1,500 citizens and their families, both in Louisiana and around the country.

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