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Time to “remodel inter-American collaborations” say LatAm universities

University leaders across Latin America called for greater regional collaboration and greater governmental support to develop internationalisation strategies in the continent’s higher education sector at the third annual Conference of the Americas on International Education (CAIE) in Monterrey, Mexico last week.

With over 800 delegates from 30 countries, the event was the largest gathering of international educators in the region

Institutions throughout the region face similar challenges in their quest to provide a global education including a lack of national strategies, no consistent standards of quality, limited technological advancements and access for all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Rector of host institution the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL) Jesús Áncer Rodríguez said educators were “in a position to remodel the strategic direction of inter-American collaboration” and called on institutions to address “the inherent issues of inter-university cooperation”.

“The governmental ingredient is essential in the discussions at this conference so that the commitments don’t just exist but also the budgets”

With over 800 delegates from 30 countries, the event was the largest gathering of international educators in the region. The inaugural ceremony was attended by leaders from inter-American governments and associations who all pledged their support to HE internationalisation strategies including governor of the state of Nuevo León, Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz.

“The governmental ingredient is essential in the discussions at this conference so that the commitments don’t just exist but also the budgets and opportunities that government can initiate with these institutions,” he said.

Establishing shared certification systems, reliable data collection and fortified foreign language programmes were among the solutions proposed by experts from the Americas, including Canada, throughout the three day conference.

Brazil’s Minister of Education, Paulo Speller, also encouraged educators to expand inter-regional collaborations. “In terms of internationalisation, Latin America has always looked across the Atlantic and to the North.

“We are failing in the integration, mobility and internationalisation of our own region, Latin America”

“We don’t even have the tradition of national mobility and what’s worse, we don’t look to our neighbours. We are failing in the integration, mobility and internationalisation of our own region, Latin America,” he said.

Leaders also recognised internationalisation’s potential role in improving accessibility to education. “Internationalisation is a fundamental strategy in a region like Latin America because it’s an instrument to solve inequality and social divides,” commented Sonia Marta Mora, president of Costa Rica’s National Higher Education Accreditation System (SINAES).

In recognition of social inclusion initiatives on the continent, CAIE gave ex-Brazilian president Lula de Silva the Inter-America award for working to establish more universities, higher education institutions, and technical schools than in any previous presidential terms and enabling approximately 100,000 new students to pursue their studies in tertiary education.

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