January 31, 2014
Purdue, Colombia advance broad-based partnerships
President Mitch Daniels (center left) meets with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (center right) during a trip to Colombia this month to further the unique nation-university partnership begun in 2010. (Photo provided)
A Purdue delegation led by President Mitch Daniels visited Colombia this month and furthered the unique nation-university partnership begun in 2010.
Purdue and Colombian officials concluded several agreements continuing and broadening partnerships for faculty and PhD students and undergraduate internships; partnered on supercomputer infrastructure; established a Purdue partnerships office in Colombia and announced its director; and discussed future opportunities including Purdue’s role in planning the sustainable development of the Orinoquía region in Colombia.
Accompanying Daniels were Suresh V. Garimella, chief global affairs officer and the R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering and Ransburg Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Arvind Raman, the Robert V. Adams Professor of Mechanical Engineering and faculty lead for the Colombia-Purdue Institute for Advanced Scientific Research (CPIASR).
As in past visits, the trip benefited from the guidance and involvement of Juan Ernesto de Bedout, a Purdue alumnus from Colombia, chair of the Engineering Advisory Council at Purdue and retired group president for Latin American operations for Kimberly-Clark Corp.
A landmark 2010 agreement between the Colombian government and Purdue University formed the foundation for CPIASR. That agreement initiated a series of partnerships among Purdue and institutions in Colombia, including universities, companies, government ministries and nongovernmental organizations.
The agreement paved the way for events such as a 2012 workshop on innovation in Bogotá and a 2013 conference in Medellín that addressed nanotechnology for energy and medical applications. Purdue's collaboration with the Biblioteca España, Ruta N innovation center, Universidad de Antioquia, and the Ministerio de Educación Nacional has led to the creation of a large-scale after-school program to teach nanotechnology, materials science and robotics in underserved communities in Medellín such as in the barrio Santo Domingo Savio.
Key events during the Jan. 19-21 visit included:
* Meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, his ministers of Agriculture, Education and Treasury, heads of related agencies, and select university rectors to discuss Purdue’s potential engagement in planning for the Orinoquía region.
* Agreement with Colciencias to firm up continued partnership and support for PhD students, joint workshops, conferences, and research visits. Colciencias is the Colombian agency for science, technology and innovation, which is the equivalent of the U.S. National Science Foundation.
* The unveiling of Purdue’s Latin American Technical, Research, and Administrative Leaders (LATeRAL) program. The initiative is designed to build strategic partnerships with select universities in Latin America in the training of students at the graduate level (M.S., MBA, Ph.D.). These students will be future leaders ready to meet 21st century challenges as they help transform education and research in Latin American universities, and technological innovations in companies.
* Six agreements to foster research, exchange programs and supercomputer collaboration with Universidad Nacional, Universidad de los Andes, EAFIT and Universidad de Antioquia.
* Announcement of Liliana Gómez Díaz as director of Purdue’s new Colombian Partnerships and Engagement Office. Gómez is from Colombia and has an extensive resume as a corporate and academic leader. Among her many accomplishments, she has served as dean of the Business School at the Universidad del Rosario.
* Meetings with top government officials, CEOs of companies and thought leaders including Purdue alumni. Executives came from leading businesses such as Grupo Aval, Grupo Empresarial Antioqueño, Empresas Públicas de Medellín, Grupo Corona, Grupo Mundial, and Grupo Carvajal.