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"I have always believed in the university, and I am sure that the money that I contribute goes towards helping Quiero Estudiar. I really like the way that Los Andes uses this recourse as it ensures th

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Semester with a record number of foreign students

Semester with a record number of foreign students

232 international students began their academic semester in the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. 78 had enrolled for master´s degrees and 154 for undergraduate programs.

20/09/2017
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232 international students began their academic semester in the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. 78 had enrolled for master´s degrees and 154 for undergraduate programs.

The majority of international students are from France (53), followed by Germany (23), Denmark (17), Portugal (16), the United Kingdom (12), Italy (10), and there are also students from Holland, Australia, the United States, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, Canada, Norway and China. There are also 43 Latin American students.
 

There are 66 international students in the Faculty of Business Administration, 45 in the Faculty of Social Sciences, 37 in the Faculty of Engineering, 22 in the Faculty of Design, 15 in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, 14 in the Faculty of Economics, 10 in the Faculty of Law, 7 in the Faculty of Sciences, 3 in the Faculty of Education, 2 in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Studies on Development, 2 in the School of Government, and 9 visiting students.
 

Yadira Mogollón, head of Academic Mobility, which is part of the Office of Internationalization in the Vice-Rectory for Academic Affairs, states that the university offers five programs through which undergraduate students can take part in academic exchanges.
 

She commented that, “As well as students expanding their knowledge during their degrees, they also have the opportunity to find out about other cultures and ways of life, learn a foreign language, and more generally develop on a professional and personal level.”

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Neurons that allow us to understand others

Giacomo Rizzolatti
Giacomo Rizzolatti
31/08/2017
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Have you ever asked yourself, why do we mirror others, especially when we see someone else yawning? The answer was discovered in 1996 and it revolutionized the world of neuroscience, of researchers, and perhaps helped us to understand why we understand others. In that year, neurologist Giacomo Rizzolatti and his team discovered mirror neurons. He made the discovery when he was studying monkey´s brains and found a group of neurons that became activated not only when the animal was making a movement itself but also when it was watching another animal do so.

As a result of this discovery, subsequent research established that this system of neurons allows us to make other people´s actions, sensations, and emotions our own. It is for this reason that you can “feel” a performer´s pain or emotion and that someone´s smile is contagious. These neurons give rise to people´s connections in society such as empathy and mirroring.

On Saturday 29th July Giacomo Rizzolatti gave a conference in the Universidad de los Andes

Explain to us how you made the discovery?
Giacomo Rizzolatti: In 1996 we were studying the behavior of motor neurons in monkeys, so we implanted some electrodes into them to find out their activity. However, we ended up discovering a group of neurons that activated when the animal performed an action as well as when another person or animal performed it. 

Do these neurons function the same in humans?
GR: We started carrying out experiments with humans and we already knew that there were motor and visual neurons, but the discovery found some neurons that managed to understand another person without that person meaning for them to do so: this is what we call empathy.

Mirror neurons have created a certain amount of trust in other people, but this trust has been lost. What has happened to these neurons?
GR: There are two different mechanisms: in the case of empathy it is the capacity that the person has to picture the situation that another is going through, to feel the pain, make a face of disgust, and laugh, but this mechanism is different from the social element. Just think about the Second World War, which started because it was said that the Jews were bad people. Using this cognitive mechanism, it was possible to change the biological mechanism of empathy. This is one of the biggest dangers that we face: modifying the empathy that we have so that we damage others. Society has the ability to change empathy and turn it into something bad.

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Language assessment: a key topic in education

These tests are always undertaken in schools, universities, and at postgraduate level.

These tests are always undertaken in schools, universities, and at postgraduate level.

31/08/2017
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How did language tests become to be so important in determining peoples´ futures? This question will be discussed in Universidad de los Andes during the LTRC: Language Testing Research Colloquium — LTRC 2017 in which researchers from universities in several cities around the world and experts from leading examination centers (such as ETS´ TOEFL and the British Council´s IELTS) analyze the field of assessment in foreign language teaching. The LTRC will take place from 17th to 21st July.

Isabel Tejada Sánchez from the department of Languages and Culture at Los Andes highlights that this event will echo the need to think about the impact that assessment has on different levels of education. The professor explained that the word assessment is often feared due to the implications and consequences that development in this area can have on our lives. “Even so, as educators and students, this dynamic is part of our day-to-day lives and it is impossible to ignore. However, we very rarely ask ourselves why and for what reason it exists”.

On the same subject, Gerriet Arthur Janssen, associate professor in the Department of Languages and Culture at Los Andes explained that the international congress was useful to analyze in depth the exams that are used to validate the level that someone has in a certain language. “Also, we will study the use of new technologies and innovation in these types of assessments in order to improve the reliability of the results of the tests to make them closer to the person´s real level”.

It is for this reason that, under the framework of the international language conference, -together with CaMLA and Goëthe Institut- workshops on assessment of the different languages taught at Los Andes (such as German, French, English, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish) will be held.
 

Additionally, the creation of a network of language assessment researchers in Latin America is to be planned that will be supported by the ILTA.

Over the LRTC´s 39 year history, this is the first time that this conference will be held in Latin America and will go beyond the Anglo-Saxon tradition of exams such as IELTS and TOEFL, “as we will be joined by experts in the development of exams for: Portuguese (CELPE-BRAS that is provided by IBRACO to pursue higher education in Brazil), German (the sprachdiplom exam), French (the DEFL and DALF), Spanish as a foreign language, and for Japanese there will be a meeting on the assessment paradigm”.

This will be an excellent opportunity to find out first-hand the evolution and current situation of assessment exams for different languages.

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What are Colombia´s sustainable development goals?

One of the sustainable development goals is that for 2050 the economy will be free of any fossil fuels.

One of the sustainable development goals is that for 2050 the economy will be free of any fossil fuels.

31/08/2017
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During his recent visit to Colombia, the director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs, said that Colombia was the country that suggested the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a great idea, for many reasons, one being that the country needs them.

 

“Colombia is one of the countries that has the most biodiversity; it is heavily reliant on agriculture, which, in turn, depends on the climate and weather being manageable. It is very diverse in terms of culture, native ethnicities, and humankind. It is a phenomenal country.”
 

Moreover, professor emeritus from Los Andes, Manuel Rodriguez Becerra, clarified that “the objectives of sustainable development are universal development. That is to say that both developed countries and developing countries have responsibilities, and these have a universal application. There are some environmental problems that are deeply linked with global social and cultural development that can only be fixed if all countries work together towards sustainable development”.
 

Sachs added that, “in order to achieve the sustainable development goals, from the point of view of global climate security, each country needs to make a transition towards energy systems that are low in carbon”. He also said that Colombia needs to outline a plan of action, design a policy, socialize it with the country´s experts, and then decide what is the best course of action to take.
 

Professor Manuel Rodríguez Becerra concluded that, “Last year professor Sachs made a strong claim: that Colombia was excessively shaping its future with a sole focus on coal mining. This year he said that Colombia was strongly shaping its future with hydrocarbon mining. That is not to say that carbon and hydrocarbons should not be mined, but that Colombia needs to diversify its productive apparatus in terms of agriculture, services, and other areas while depending less and less on the carbon and oil economies”.

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University of Giessen presented with a medal to celebrate fifty years of partnership

Renewal of partnership between Los Andes and the University of Giessen
25/05/2017
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Joybrato Mukherjee, dean of the Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany, and Pablo Navas, dean of the Universidad de los Andes, renewed the agreement for interinstitutional cooperation that was signed for the first time fifty years ago.

purpose of the agreement is to continue promoting international exchanges and collaboration in research and teaching as well as developing projects the universities are working on together. Since the agreement was initially signed in 1967, more than fifty students and teachers from Uniandes have had the opportunity to benefit from the quality education that this university has to offer and have been exposed to the immensely rich German culture and its traditions.

This collaboration agreement is the oldest that has been formally reported between a German university and a Latin American one. Ever since it was signed, the two institutions have continuously worked together for scientific and academic development in Colombia.

The exchange agreement currently runs each semester for all programs the university offers at both undergraduate and Master’s levels. In order to apply, students should at least be in the second year of their degree, have a knowledge of German, and be academically excellent; these elements are considered to be key in order for them to have a successful exchange experience.

Yadira Mogollón, head of mobility in the Directorate for Internationalization at Los Andes believes that participating in an exchange is an experience that has steered the lives of some students. “We have had cases of students who, after an exchange, have taken a new direction. Without doubt, this experience significantly contributes to personal, academic, and professional development.”

During the agreement renewal ceremony, the Universidad de los Andes awarded the University of Giessen with the ‘Uniandes Medal of Distinction”. This award was established to highlight the work of either people or national or international institutions that have significantly contributed to collective-welfare in both academic and extra-academic areas.

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