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This was the opening ceremony of the Universidad de los Andes’ Caribbean Campus

Opening ceremony of the Universidad de los Andes Caribbean campus in Cartagena on May 10, 2018.
Opening ceremony of the Universidad de los Andes Caribbean campus in Cartagena on May 10, 2018.
Press conference at the launch of the Universidad de los Andes Caribbean campus.
Press conference at the launch of the Universidad de los Andes Caribbean campus.
Opening ceremony of the Universidad de los Andes Caribbean campus in Cartagena on May 10, 2018.
Opening ceremony of the Universidad de los Andes Caribbean campus in Cartagena on May 10, 2018.
Press conference at the launch of the Universidad de los Andes Caribbean campus.
13/07/2018
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The arrival of Universidad de los Andes to the Caribbean region is one more milestone in its seventy-year history
In May 2018, the Universidad de los Andes opened its doors to its Caribbean campus, and, for the first time since it was founded seventy years ago, it expanded from its main campus in Bogotá to another city – the exclusive Serena del Mar urban complex in Cartagena de Indias. 

The building was designed by the renowned architect Brandon Haw and is located 12km from the city center. It has classrooms, offices, recreation areas, co-working spaces, all of international quality, and also provides spaces for the development of academic programs as well as initiatives that contribute to the progress of the city and region. 

To begin with, the university will offer further education programs and, at a later date, post-graduate diplomas and Master’s degrees. 

May 10 – The opening ceremony

Before the opening ceremony, the Dirección de Posicionamiento at the university organized a press conference with the university’s vice-chancellor, Pablo Navas, and the president of Serena del Mar, Daniel Haime, who explained the advantages that opening this new educational center will bring to the national and local press: “this is an open door for the academic community; not only for Colombian universities. We are working together to make alliances with other universities internationally to create academic programs that will be taught in this campus”, highlighted the vice-chancellor who invited journalists to join him for a walk around the campus. 

An hour later at five in the afternoon, close to three hundred assistants opened the official ceremony (see the inaugural address video), which was attended by the members of the University´s Superior Council, managers, and teachers as well as rectors from other universities from the region, authorities and important national, regional, and local executives. Vice-chancellor Navas emphasized that collaborative academic work is of vital importance to have a positive impact on the communities and he also stressed that, additionally, “today, Los Andes´ commitment to making a contribution and reaching out to the country is more explicit than ever, and this ceremony clearly illustrates this.” 
 
The main table was comprised by Eduardo Pacheco Cortés –  the president of the University´s Superior Council, Daniel Haime – the president of Serena del Mar, and Brandon Haw – the building´s architect and designer who gave a warm welcome to the prestigious institution. 

When night fell, guests celebrated and toasted with a glass of wine while a firework display illuminated Cartagena´s skyline.
 

Relive the complete inaugural address here


May 11 – The agreement

The buildings in the new campus were opened at nine in the morning by representatives of the main universities in the region who participated in an academic panel (click here to see complete panel). It was moderated by Carl Langebaek, the vice-rector for academic affairs, and its purpose was to articulate efforts and design strategies that would benefit the communities in the north of the country. Alberto Roa, vice-rector for academic affairs at the Universidad del Norte, stated that, “the most positive action we can take is to ally ourselves with transparency and good governance.”

The event ended with a Cooperation Arrangement agreement signed between the Universidad de los Andes, the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, the Universidad del Norte, and the Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar. An alliance was consolidated between private and public higher education institutions from the Caribbean to promote inter-university and inter-institutional activities that addressed the region´s future challenges.

As midnight arrived, the historian José Vicente Mogollón gave a conference on the history of the north of Cartagena about its paths, towns, and beaches. This was followed by a lecture by professors from Los Andes and from the Caribbean who talked about topics such as health, biodiversity, peace, art, and culture in the Caribbean. 

For all the lectures given during the opening ceremony at the Caribbean campus, click here.

May 12 – The reunion

On Saturday, after a busy opening day, the campus was the setting where the Uniandino spirit was fueled. 

Around one-hundred alumni from different faculties reunited to interact and exchange ideas and knowledge as part of a networking initiative that was led by Eduardo Behrentz – the Vice-Rector for University Development and Alumni Relations. 

Over these three days, the Universidad de los Andes one again reaffirmed its commitment to quality education in Colombia, as well as its hedging its bet on regionalization, and, through this, its contribution to the country’s development and progress.

Also see:

  • The best photos of the buildings at the Universidad de los Andes’ Caribbean campus

 

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This is post-conflict rural Colombia

Picture of the Colombian countryside. Photo by Hanz Rippe Gabriel.
What are the needs in the zones where the post-conflict programs will be implemented? A study by the Democracy Observatory at the Universidad de los Andes. 
07/07/2018
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Post-conflict rural Colombia: a country of challenges and expectations

The people living in the four regions that have historically been affected by the armed conflict with the FARC see the country differently to how they saw it five years ago. The possibility of pardoning and reconciliation with this armed group, for example, increased from 50% to 66.8% in 2017. This is above the national average, which is no higher than 55%.

People’s trust in the FARC has also increased. In 2015, trust was only at 3.8%, but today it has reached 12.8%. Also, three out of ten people who were interviewed agree that the FARC will uphold what was agreed in the peace process, and four out of ten people believe the same about the government.

The most recent study by the Democracy Observatory about people supporting the different points of the agreement showed that the programs that have the most support are the following: harvest substitution programs (86.5 %), agrarian reform (83.4 %), special boundaries for peace (71.4 %), and campesino reservation areas (66.7 %).

Main problems


The inhabitants of these regions identified the main problems in 2017 to be: violence (14.3 %), the armed conflict (11.1 %), corruption (10.2 %), and unemployment (9.3 %). It is interesting to compare these results to those from 2015: violence (28.1 %), armed conflict (12.4 %), and unemployment (15.7 %) were also identified as the main problems, despite having higher percentages, while a lower percentage of citizens perceived corruption to be the most serious problem (5.8 %).
 

In 2017, the people interviewed stated that the biggest problems in their area or hamlet were that the roads and paths were in a bad condition (17.9 %) and unemployment (9.6 %).

 

Democratic attitudes and trust in institutions
 

In the post-conflict areas, only four out of ten Colombians believe in democracy as the best form of government; this is significantly less than the percentage stated in the 2016 National Sample (53.3 %) and the 2015 sample in consolidation areas (56.4 %). In regions such as Macarena, Caguán, and Cordillera Central – 35.9% and 38.3 %, respectively, of those surveyed, believe that democracy is the best form of government.
 

The result was also very similar for the presidential approval rating: 39.4 % of those interviewed approved of Juan Manuel Santos’ administration. This is less, although not significantly so, with respect to the 2015 Special Sample (41.7 %), but is higher than the result from the 2016 National Sample, which was around 25.4 %.
 

Between 2015 and 2017, trust in institutions, for the most part, decreased to a greater of lesser extent. This reduction is significant in terms of trust in the president (from 40.2 % to 31.7 %) and in the Armed Forces (from 47.1 % to 42.3 %). The only institution that received an increase in citizen trust was the evangelical Christian church (from 41.9 % to 53.4 %).

Civic participation

Participating in meetings hosted by civic organizations in rural Colombia in a post-conflict context in general increased when compared to the 2015 Special Sample.

Some of these significant increases happen within Improvement Societies or Committees (from 42.0 % to 58.7 %), Community Action Councils (from 54.6 % to 64.4 %), religious organization meetings (from 50.9% to 64.3%), and women’s associations or organizations (23.2 % to 33.5 %). This could represent a greater post-conflict mobilization and participation in these organizations.

 

The State’s ability and perceptions of the State
 

The satisfaction of inhabitants from these regions of the country with public services fell compared to what was reported in 2015: roads and highways fell from 38.9 % to 25.5 %, public schools from 57.9 % to 45.3 %, healthcare and public health from 26.8 % to 30.0 %, and water supply and sewage from 38.1 % to 33.0 %. For the Democracy Observatory, this could mean that expectations begin to increase in these regions together with citizens becoming critical of the provision of basic services within the context of the State being more present. As the services have probably not changed very much, citizens are beginning to express their greater levels of dissatisfaction. 
 

In terms of the perceived insecurity in these regions of the country: 52.5 % of people interviewed claim to feel unsafe, which is a higher percentage than that registered in the 2015 Special Sample (39.4 %). Although 53.4 % claim that either the police or military maintain the levels of security in the places where they live, 83.2 % claim that these forces are sometimes present in their area or hamlet, and 41.9 % claim that if the police were permanently present, security would decrease (29.5 % say that it would remain the same). This is a warning sign for the public institutions who need to guarantee a greater presence and do a better job whilst regaining the trust of the citizens in these regions.
 

The perception of people who claim that it is the police or military who keep order in the region increased by 53.4 %, while those who consider the guerilla to maintain security have reduced by 4.7 %.
 

In terms of perceived impunity: seven out of ten inhabitants from rural post-conflict Colombia had either little or no trust in the judicial system to punish those responsible for crimes. This perception is higher than what was registered in 2015 (56.2 %). As such, 28.8 % approved of people taking justice into their own hands, which is higher than the percentage in 2015 (19.3 %), but is less than the national average from 2016 (40 %).

 

The main expectations regarding the impact of the peace process in these regions are that it will improve campesino´s access to land (58.9 %), that campesinos will have access to technical assistance (52.7 %), and that security will improve (48.2 %).

These figures were taken from the study entitled “Post-conflict Rural Colombia 2017”
that was led by the Democracy Observatory at the Universidad de los Andes. The purpose of this research was to analyze the Colombian population´s opinions and attitudes in areas where post-conflict programs will be implemented as well as identifying their interests, needs, and expectations.

The study included municipalities in Macarena, Caguán, Andén Pacífico, Bajo Cauca, and Cordillera Central where the Agency for Territorial Renovation (ART for its acronym in Spanish) is carrying out Development Programs with a Territory-based Approach (PDET for its acronym in Spanish). There were 1,391 face-to-face interviews in these areas, 75% of which were in rural areas: hamlets where PDET operated.

Some of this research’s findings were compared with the results from the special study carried out by the Democracy Observatory in 2015 in Territorial Consolidation Areas; there are several municipalities in which the study was undertaken in 2017. Some of the results are also comparable with the 2016 National Sample.

According to the study, public institutions having a greater presence in these areas does not give hope, but this is an urgent need in the face of the population´s growing expectations and the promise of the State´s arrival as well as more investment.

Key challenges

Based on these results, and according to the co-director of the Democracy Observatory, Miguel García, rural post-conflict Colombia has five key challenges. The first is whether the State can exert a presence in these regions. “The post-conflict country is mainly rural and has low levels of education. It is a country in which half of the households survive with less than the minimum salary and where the levels of victimization that result from the armed conflict are very high.”
 

The State should arrive quickly. This is the second challenge. According to García, “The expectations as to what the State should provide are increasing. The residents from these areas have traditionally had little or no expectations from the State due to the precariousness in which they have lived and public institutions’ limited capability. However, there is now a different message: that the State, investment, and infrastructure are on their way.”
 

The third challenge is to generate more certainty than anxiety in these regions as the end of the conflict has generated much distrust. “Operational codes are changing: a player that generated certainty in terms of social order is no longer present, and we are currently in a different type of transition in all the post-conflict regions. We can see that a feeling of insecurity has grown in many of the post-conflict areas as well as the distrust in some public institutions such as the police,” he explains.
 

Another of the effects in a post-conflict environment is the higher number of social demonstrations and increased civic activity. As such, the fourth challenge is related to channeling these interests and demands that the population from these regions have expressed without restriction, and, thus, strengthening the institutionally established spaces.
 

Institutional strengthening should go hand-in-hand with avoiding and combatting corruption. This is the fifth challenge. According to Miguel García, “as the actor who enforced justice has left the arena, the view that it is acceptable for the individual to exact justice and pay bribes has elevated. These are indicators that have increased and that have begun to correlate with the national average. The State should act quickly to not jeopardize its legitimacy.”

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The paradox of fake news

William Mazzarella – Director of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.
William Mazzarella – Director of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.
William Mazzarella – Director of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.
William Mazzarella – Director of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.
12/07/2018
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William Mazzarella, expert in political anthropology, was in Los Andes analyzing this phenomenon that is becoming ever more common.

Particularly during political elections, fake news causes an uproar. William Mazzarella, expert in political anthropology, speaks to Pablo Jaramillo Salazar, professor of anthropology at Los Andes about this growing phenomenon (see video).

Mazzarella is professor of anthropology and Director of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. His books include Shoveling Smoke: Advertising and Globalization in Contemporary India (2003), Censorium: Cinema and the Open Edge of Mass Publicity (2012), and, most recently, The Mana of Mass Society (2017).

Mazzarella was invited by the Department of Anthropology, part of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Universidad de los Andes to give the conference “Why is Trump so enjoyable?”.

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Advice from Jared Diamond: scientist and winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Jared Diamond during his talk at the university’s graduation ceremony
The scientist’s talk moved away from science and centered on his personal experience
Jared Diamond during his talk at the university’s graduation ceremony
Jared Diamond during his talk at the university’s graduation ceremony
12/07/2018
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Asking yourself serious questions such as: Have I lived my life to the full? Have I fought enough to fulfil my dreams? Am I the person I want to be both for myself and those close to me? This is the advice the ecologist, geographer, biologist, and anthropologist Jared Diamond offered graduates from Universidad de los Andes during his visit to Bogotá.

Diamond, who won the Pulitzer Prize, visited Colombia to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the Universidad de los Andes. Whilst in the capital, he also gave a talk that moved away from his scientific work and focused on life in general and how we can live despite natural difficulties.
The scientist spoke to a largely young public (at the Los Andes graduation ceremony) and told of his own career that has lasted for a little under fifty years.

Jared Diamond began his scientific career in physiology and then moved into evolutionary biology and biogeography. He has been an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

His many awards include the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the International Cosmos Prize, a scholarship from the MacArthur Foundation, and the Lewis Thomas Prize, which acknowledges scientists who have made a significant literary achievement and is awarded by the Rockefeller University.

He has published more than six-hundred articles, and his book Guns, Germs and Steel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

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Mathematics applied to daily life

Mauricio Velasco Photo
He studied mathematics at the Universidad de los Andes. In 2002, he began a doctorate in Economics at Cornell University but quit to focus on mathematics.
04/06/2018
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Professor Mauricio Velasco lets out a laugh when you tell him that he does not seem like a mathematician because of the way he looks and the way he talks.

He has heard this a thousand times, but it still amuses him, “It’s a cliché that mathematicians are shy, nervous, and only stare at the floor. But, nothing could be further from the truth. We are not all John Forbes Nash”, he says referencing the brilliant but eccentric scientist that Russel Crowe portrayed in A Brilliant Mind. “We are not all odd”, he concludes, and then laughs again.

Mauricio has been part of the Department of Mathematics at Universidad de los Andes since 2011. Even before, however, he dedicated a large part of his time to working on his specialist subject: geometric algebra, optimization, and the way they interact.

He uses clear and fluid language to explain his work. He has a harmonious voice that sounds almost musical. He is wearing light blue jeans and a simple black jumper. He has a long grey beard and has an easy and contagious smile.

He explains that this work is applicable to almost any daily problem (read: improve Transmilenio routes or patients in the public health system) and has won him awards such as the 2016 TWAS Prize (Third World Academy of Sciences), which was presented by the Academy of Exact and Natural Sciences in Italy. In 2017, he received the José Fernando Escobar Prize, that was awarded by the Colombian Society of Mathematicians to those who have excelled in their research in either pure or applied mathematics.

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The selection of Ediciones Uniandes research books

A shelf full of books that are published by the Uniandes publishing house.
Every year Los Andes publishes more than one hundred research books. 
01/06/2018
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The production of research by staff at the Universidad de los Andes is mainly found in academic articles and publications in specialized journals; however, it is also published by books that are listed in the Ediciones Uniandes catalogue.

This publishing house focuses on publishing research books as well as disseminating them through diverse channels.

These channels include the platform eBooks, which uses electronic formats to give the community of researchers, students, and general-public a simple, dynamic, and robust tool to access, consult, read, download, and formally subscribe (from any device) to the contents of the Ediciones Uniandes interdisciplinary catalogue.

“The publishing house relies on the Vice-Dean for Research and Doctorates Office, and the vast majority of books that we offer depends on the research that is undertaken in the university. These products have some particular characteristics and they are reviewed by committees in departments and faculties to be certain that they fulfil academic research publication requirements.”

Ediciones Uniandes is the third most prolific university publishing house; it publishes close to one hundred books a year.

As part of our commitment to make scientific, artistic, and cultural books available for the academic and general-public, we promote co-editions with strategic alliances, foster intercultural dialogue by translating content, and support publishing policies such as open access.

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