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Latin American Technical, Research and Administrative Leaders (LATeRAL)

Purdue recently launched a program entitled Latin American Technical, Research and Administrative Leaders (LATeRAL).  Announced during President Mitch Daniel’s visit to Colombia in January, the program will develop faculty, corporate, entrepreneurial and community leaders ready to meet Latin America’s innovation, research, commercialization and education challenges.

LATeRAL was inspired by Purdue’s extensive partnerships in Latin America, including efforts by multiple colleges in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru.  Collectively, these partnerships provide unique study-abroad experiences for Purdue students, recruiting opportunities for a diverse group of students (approximately 375 students from Latin America and Caribbean currently enrolled at Purdue), research collaborations and joint educational developments.  As an example of the scope of possible interactions, the Colombia-Purdue Institute (CPI) has developed strong partnerships with universities and government ministries in Colombia.  With sponsorship from Colciencias (the national science foundation) and Colfuturo, non-government organization, we now have over 25 Colombian students enrolled in Purdue graduate programs.  Purdue made a commitment to help prepare these students for careers in Colombia, as well as to work with current faculty to advance education and research programs.

By partnering with top institutions and companies within these countries, we can help build the required expertise while providing valuable experiences for Purdue students, faculty and staff and fostering corporate partnerships involving Purdue and companies in Indiana.  A regional framework can help foster these types of partnerships and therefore enhance the impact and exposure of Purdue’s efforts as well as the experiences of participating students and faculty/staff.   Student participation in and from Latin America, in both study abroad programs and undergraduate/graduate degree programs at Purdue, is low in comparison to other regions of the world.  Enhanced institutional partnerships in the region are expected to increase study-abroad participation and to attract more well-qualified students to Purdue.