A partnership between the Government of Colombia and Purdue University was announced on January 20, 2014, after a meeting with the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, the Minister of Education, Maria Fernanda Campo, and the President of Purdue University, Mitchell Daniels. President Santos invited Purdue to play a central role in planning for the sustainable development of the Orinoquía region in Colombia. A series of agreements signed by Colombia’s Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation (Colciencias) and Purdue University will boost the country’s scientific research program and create new opportunities for higher education for young Colombians. Colciencias and Purdue University established a unique partnership with great potential for academic advancement and greater knowledge in engineering, agriculture, biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, health, human sciences, energy and transport among others. The partnership will broaden interactions with faculty and PhD students and lead to undergraduate internships
The Minister of Education, who spoke of the partnership, said that “Colombia places strategic importance on building a strong relationship that allows us to jointly advance the goals proposed in our country for our productive sector and our universities.” The President of Purdue University highlighted that the partnership with Colciencias will allow the University to play an active role in achieving Colombia’s goals in the education sector.
Several top universities in Colombia and private sector representatives also met with the delegation from Purdue University. CEOs from top companies such as Grupo Aval, Grupo Empresarial Antioqueño, Empresas Públicas de Medellin, Grupo Corona, and Grupo Mundial, among others, expressed an interest in identifying avenues for cooperation to enhance the quality of entrepreneurial leadership. Purdue University entered into agreements with Universidad Nacional, Universidad de los Andes, EAFIT and Universidad de Antioquia, and established a first-ever Purdue partnerships office in Colombia and named Liliana Gomez Diaz as full-time Director for the office.
Through its partnerships in Colombia, Purdue will be able to offer its students new study abroad arrangements, diversify its student body and engage with the private sector and nongovernmental organizations. The partnership also served as a stimulus for the development of Purdue’s Latin American Technical, Research, and Administrative Leaders (LATeRAL) program. LATeRAL is designed to build strategic partnerships with select universities in Latin America in the training of students at the graduate level.