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Los Andes will be represented in the Latin Grammy Awards: a total of four professors and alumni have been nominated

This year’s Latin Grammy Awards were held on November 16th.
This year’s Latin Grammy Awards were held on November 16th.
23/11/2017
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The Universidad de los Andes will be represented at the Latin Grammy Award ceremony 2017 by alumni and teachers from the Department of Music who have been nominated. This year’s Latin Grammy Awards will be held on November 16th.

The following four Uniandinos have been nominated: professor Carlos Silva, with two albums he mastered in his C1 Mastering studio. They are both in the “Best Cumbia/ Vallenato Album”: "Ni un paso atrás" by Jorge Celedón and Sergio Luis, and "Sin límites" by El Gran Martín Elías and Rolando Ochoa.
Mauricio Rengifo studied production has been nominated for producer and sound engineer in the following categories: “Album of the year” and “Recording of the year” for "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee.

Juan Sebastián Bastos, professor of sound production and also an alumnus from our department (production ’08), was nominated for “Best Tropical Fusion Album” with the album “Coletera”, released on his Tambora Records label. Juan Sebastián worked as the sound engineer on the album.

Alejandro Sánchez Samper, alumni from out department (Composition ´00) was nominated in the “Best Folkloric Album” category for the album "Pa' qué mas" by Quinteto Leopoldo Federico, released on the Hoot Wisdom Recordings (FAU) label. Alejandro was album producer and arranger.

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The Uniandina who broke work paradigms

Dora Muñoz is an EMBA student at Universidad de los Andes.
Dora Muñoz is an EMBA student at Universidad de los Andes and one of the most representative leaders in the Brazilian oil sector.
22/11/2017
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By: Sandra Gutiérrez P.

Entrepreneurial, pioneering, intelligent, feisty, a fighter, warm, and very feminine are all adjectives that describe Dora Muñoz: a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. She has an undergraduate degree in petroleum engineering, post graduate diplomas in integrated environmental management and oil and gas project and business management (onshore/offshore), and she is currently an Executive MBA student in the Faculty of Business Administration at Universidad de los Andes. She believes that life offers opportunities, but you need to find them, accept them, and then take advantage of them.

The decision to undertake an EMBA in Los Andes did not seem the most feasible option as she has been based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the past eight years. However, despite having been accepted for executive programs in the University of Cambridge and in the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Brazil, she says that, “I saw the quality of the teachers -all were excellent-, I compared the programs, and my inclination was the Triple Crown. Also, I wanted to get closer to Colombia again. To get things moving, I was travelling every two weeks.”

She adds that, “I love the program because of its connection with Latin America and because it has shown me how to adapt to a global and changing world. My experience with the EMBA has been fantastic: the university´s futuristic vision demonstrates its commitment to excellence. Also, my classmates have an excellent level. The EMBA gave me the opportunity to connect with my country´s reality, to recognize everything that needs to be done, and discover that Colombia has a lot of potential.”

The EMBA has helped her to strengthen her managerial skills and to put them to use in her work.

This woman from Bogotá, a citizen of the world, is an example of how paradigms can be broken. She has been married for seventeen years to Guillermo Santacoloma, who is also a petroleum engineer, has a newborn son, Gabriel, and has spent twelve years outside Colombia working in Canada, Russia, and Brazil: always in the oil sector. She is the only woman who has been in a directive position in this Brazilian sector, and, also, the first to be a member of the Colombian Association of Petroleum Engineers´ board of directors (Acipet), which is a government public policy advisory body for the sector. Dora Muñoz is an example that women can work in what is a traditionally masculine territory.

She states that, “the association advertised an opening to be part of the 17th Colombian Conference on Oil and Gas 2017 technical committee, which was held between the 18th and 20th October in Bogotá. I applied and I passed. This is the biggest event in the oil industry in Colombia and one of the most important in Latin America. For me, it has been a great joy to be involved in it, and I am proud to be the only female engineer who is part of this committee”.
A history of passion and goals fulfilled

“As a woman, the challenge has been interesting. For many of the projects in which I wanted to participate in my professional life, I have always been worried about being overruled as they are male activities. Once, in a packed auditorium, in which we were the only three women, the teacher asked me to move a heavy drill bit as a ´punishment´ for having arrived late. I asked several of my male classmates to help me, and they lifted it. “I moved it” I told him, and the teacher was completely bewildered. “Strength is not in the hands; it is in the ability to create cohesion, solidarity, and compassion”.

After finishing her petroleum engineering degree, 24 years ago she began working as a statistics instructor in Acipet. Ever since then, one of her goals was to be on the board of directors, which she achieved several months ago.

“From then, I understood the importance of people connecting, having identity, having an ethic, and sharing values. I think that this is what we lack as Colombians: convincing ourselves that union and solidarity are important for the common good.” I have worked in oil and service companies in Colombia, Canada, and Brazil, and this is the experience that I would like to share.

Subsequently, she started a Masters in environmental engineering, but she did not finish as she went to Russia with her husband. They travelled to Canada where she founded an oil services company, which she ran for four years. At the end of 2009 she moved to Brazil where she was in charge of a small operating company with which she managed to drill the first producing well, but due to the situation in the great South American country, they could not continue. She created a second company in 2012 –Trayectoria Petroleo e gas do Brasil-, with which she participated in a business network. In three years, it moved from being the 49th most important company in Brazil to the 7th.

“After almost five years in that country, I had the possibility to generate business opportunities. I participated in an oil fields auction, and, although we were the smallest company, we made an offer and we won, even beating Petrobras. We have always been operated austerely, but
we know the business, and for this reason, we beat the crisis”, she explains. “I am passionate about this industry. If there is anything I wanted to be, it is this”.
The key is in sharing

“Part of the success in life is having a person who you love and who you admire. In my case, it is my husband Guillermo. We have always been travelers and Wanderers; our suitcases are always ready by the door. Gabriel´s arrival is a miracle for us that has opened new possibilities and has made us believe in the future”, she admits.
She also recognizes that women´s adaptability in a masculine environment is fundamental. “As Connie Cárdenas, teacher in the Faculty of Business Administration in the Universidad de los Andes, says in her book ´In search of female leadership: a research journey´, as women we cannot lose our essence; what we have to do it adapt and transform ourselves. It is not easy, but it is clear for me that the female tenderness transcends.”

However, she admits that life is not simply based on sex. Differences enrich and “you always have to understand people as people…You have to grow together to transform, because you cannot do it alone. You have to make a team. For this reason, I think that I am a masterpiece…as is everyone” she says with conviction.

“If I were to be born again, I would be a woman because I have the possibility to educate generations. I want to tell you all that we all transmit values; we are dedicated and courageous women who are peaceful, powerful, love, and have self-control, and are made to not compete but to collaborate”, she concludes.

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Student wins scholarship for the most important women’s convention in Harvard

María Alejandra Vargas, Government and Public Affairs student

María Alejandra Vargas, Government and Public Affairs student.

17/11/2017
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Thanks to her leadership and academic excellence, María Alejandra Vargas, a Government and Public Affairs and Economics student at the Universidad de los Andes was granted a partial scholarship to attend the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business Intercollegiate Convention, which is the most important meeting of university students and recent graduates interested in becoming business women or leaders in their field of study.

The meeting, which takes place annually every October, is organized by the Women in Business Club at Harvard College. Over 1,300 students take part from different universities throughout the U.S. and the world. The scholarship was granted by the Fundación Mujeres por Colombia, which aims to contribute to the comprehensive training of female professionals so they can empower themselves and become the political, economic, and social decision-makers in the country. They will then lead Colombia’s transition towards peace, justice, equality, and development. 

As well as attending the international convention, the scholarship includes seven additional days to visit the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), several faculties in Harvard, Yale, and Columbia and some tourist attractions in Boston, Cambridge, and New York.

María Alejandra says that, “My dream has always been to study in the School of Government at Harvard. Getting first-hand admissions information is an opportunity to project myself. At the same time, it is possible to tell young people that it is not necessary to be the most gifted of the person with the most funds but to have the initiative to get these opportunities”.

It will also be a personal challenge as it is the first time that she will have left Colombia alone, which she says will, measure “her independence and ability to function in a new country”.

The application process to travel to Massachusetts involved sending references, certifying grades, creating a life project, writing her reasons to want to attend the conference, and initiatives that she has led and supported.

María Alejandra has stood out for having been involved in social causes that have supported the community. Ever since she was at school, she volunteered with the Fundación Fe y Alegría and also belonged to a scout group. Later, at Los Andes, she was a student representative in the School of Government, where she was elected as the representative of the CADE Committee (Student Guidance Center Unit - Deanship of Student Affairs), which undertakes continuous monitoring of students who are part of the Quiero Estudiar scholarship program.

She is currently part of the Uniandes Women in Business social responsibility committee, which is the first student club for business women in Colombia and was inspired by the Harvard initiative.

The scholarship, which was granted by the convention on women in Harvard, covered a third of the cost of the trip.

She said that, “to get the rest of the money, my mom and I saved and did a raffle: I sold one hundred tickets. I realized that people are always willing to help, especially with these types of initiatives as they realize that the grain of sand they contribute goes to a great cause.”

Economic resources cannot stop you from fulfilling your dreams

“I never imagined studying in the Universidad de los Andes as I didn’t have the money. But I realized that dreams and aspirations cannot hang only on a dollar sign. You can’t just depend on how much money you have, but instead, how talented you are and the desire you have to drive your life forward,” said María Alejandra, who was able to study her undergraduate program thanks to the Quiero Estuidar scholarship. This program covers 95% of her degree.

She adds that, “the reciprocity element is really important, and it is really satisfying to think that a small part of my salary is going to help a lot of young people be able to fulfil their dreams, just like I did. They can take advantage of everything that the Universidad de los Andes has to offer them.”

She says that thanks to the Quiero Estuidar program she has not only been able to study, but she has been introduced to a world of possibilities. “When I graduated from school, I never thought that I was going to go to Harvard to attend a congress for women on a scholarship. This would have been impossible if I had not studied as Los Andes.”

She affirms that she is not the only beneficiary of the Quiero Estudiar program. It will help her family, the next students who will receive the scholarship, and the country will also benefit from the excellent human talent.

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Analysis: one hundred years after the Russian Revolution

Russian Revolution

2017 will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Analysis from an expert at Universidad de los Andes.

17/11/2017
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From February to October 1917: nine months of revolution

By:
Hugo Fazio Vengoa
Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences

 

2017 will celebrate the one-hundred-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution, and I must confess that it is not an easy topic to write about. A first difficulty can be found in the symbiotic relationship that exists between the past and the present, which we can visualize in the following hypothetical exercise. If today, we have a day like the one they had half a century ago, in 1967, when the Soviet Union and the socialist camp were forces that had a hand in modeling the world, surely there would be tremendous commemoration. Both the epigones and their detractors would have to refer to it because the revolutionary feat would be part of the immediate present. The historian Eric Hobsbawm says the following in his great history of the last century, “In short, the history of the twentieth century cannot be understood without the Russian Revolution and its direct and indirect repercussions. One of the reasons for its significance is that it saved liberal capitalism and allowed the West to defeat Hitler´s Germany by giving capitalism an incentive to reform itself and to abandon the orthodoxy of the free market [1]”.
 

Another reason is the dominant scenario in the second decade of the twenty-first century. When the Cold War was finally over, when communism as either an expectation or threat belonged, at best, to a nostalgic past, the “value” of the revolutionary event had been degraded and it had lost the virtue of participating in the definition of our contemporaneity. The present is recognized in other origins, several of which date back to the end of the 1960s, and none of them go back to the great event in 1917.
 

A second difficulty derives from this first: if the germinal event in the twentieth century does not determine our present, is it worthwhile asking ourselves which event in 1917 should be commemorated today. In the past century, the answer was more than clear: the greatest event took place in October/November 1917. That event led the Bolsheviks (communists) to power as it was the event that imprinted a stamp on the development of the whole world. However, the revolution in Russia was not the only one in Russia during 1917. There was one equally as important: the February Revolution, which put centuries of imperial domination to an end. This revolution started on 23rd February, the date upon which, in accordance with the Julian Calendar that was used until the end of that year in Russia, the socialists commemorated the international day of women. Using the slogan, “bread, peace, and liberty”, on this day, many female workers took to the streets to protest against the famine and against the reduction in their income. To support them, workers of both sexes from various factories in Petrograd declared themselves to be on strike and joined the demonstration on the capital´s main streets. Several days after, the popular mobilization and radicalization reached such a level that the Tzar had to stand down, ending various centuries of Romanov dynasty rule.

 

While the October revolution led the communists to power, paving the way for seventy years of Soviet rule, the February Revolution put an end to the Tsarist regime, with its repressive organs, its bureaucracy, and State organization of society; it opened channels for the development of a new institutionality and democracy. There are many analysts who consider the February Revolution to be a true revolution, and at the same time reduce the events in October to the level of a simple coup d’état.

Presenting this contrast between February and October is a false problem as, in fact, both revolutions are linked through four large revolutionary movements that lasted from March to October in this critical year. The first was the spontaneous appropriation of the land by the peasants, the purpose of which was to rebuild their ancestral communes, known as obshchinas. This action was fundamentally aimed at undertaking an agrarian revolution: its purpose was to expropriate the properties of big land owners from both church and State in the spirit of egalitarianism. But it did not have major demands in terms of how power was to be organized. The second was an urban revolution, led by workers who were faced with the mass closure of companies by the owners. Their response was to create factory committees, representative bodies that did not question ownership of the companies but did play an important role that consisted in: making sure there was continuous employment, improving the living conditions of its representatives, and continuing with the dismantling of industrial capitalism. Soldiers’ behavior aided the third revolutionary process. They demanded the immediate cessation of hostilities and approval to return to their homes to join those who were triggering the agrarian and/ or industrial revolution. This rebellion was so huge in scale that it is no exaggeration to say that by October practically the whole Russian army had disappeared by removal (thousands of soldiers deserted). Finally, a fourth movement was carried out by the national minorities, who were eager to assert people’s right to self-determination. The national minorities were also a disruptive force that helped to create a favorable environment for the October Revolution by unraveling the remnants of the old Tsarist apparatus.
 

Within this revolutionary context, the Bolsheviks showed a shrewd understanding of the feelings of the masses. They supported their demands and they knew how to position themselves on the crest of the revolutionary wave. As such, the Bolsheviks’ arrival to power in October was not a coup d’état but the culmination of a huge revolutionary tsunami. In this way, both revolutionary events were chained together within a revolutionary climate that loomed for nearly nine months. The complete merging between revolutionary radicalism, which was represented by the Bolsheviks, and revolutionary rebellions was short-lived. Its complex evolution created another history: the Soviet history.  

[1] Eric Hobsbawm, Historia del siglo xx, Barcelona, Crítica, 1995, p. 91.

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“Feminism has given women control over their lives” - Sandra Harding

Sandra Harding in the Universidad de los Andes

Sandra Harding, distinguished professor of education and gender studies at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).

Sandra Harding in the Universidad de los Andes
Sandra Harding in the Universidad de los Andes
17/11/2017
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Harding speaks about the impact feminism has had on society and the relevance of philosophy.

Sandra Harding is a philosopher, feminist, and distinguished professor of education and gender studies at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). She is author and editor of seventeen books and special editions of journals. She has been a consultant at several United Nations organizations including the Pan American Health Organization, Unesco, Unifem, and the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development.

I was in Colombia for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Department of Philosophy at the Universidad de los Andes, and I had a conversation with Manuela Fernández, professor of philosophy at Universidad de los Andes.

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“Trump´s warning is a huge diagnostic error”

Two members of the police force among coca paste

Should aerial fumigations with glyphosate be resumed due to the increase in the number of coca plantations? Analysis by Hernando Zuleta, director of the Security and Drugs Research Center (Cesed).

03/11/2017
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Should aerial fumigations with glyphosate be resumed due to the increase in the number of coca plantations?
By:
Hernando Zuleta
Security and Drugs Research Center (Cesed)
Faculty of Economics

 

The simple answer is no. Trump´s warning is a huge diagnostic error. If the drug-trafficking problem is essentially due to cocaine consumption, then the real issue is the amount of cocaine that goes on the international market. Therefore, the number of coca plantations is not a good measurement indicator as, to know how much cocaine is on the market, the seizures of coca leaf –cocaine paste and cocaine hydrochloride– need to be factored into the situation.

When the seizures are taken into consideration, there is actually no significant increase in the amount of cocaine on the international market. The emphasis on the antidrug policy is what has changed rather than the success of the policy. The Colombian government is, in part, responsible for this diagnostic error as it continues to measure the area of illegal plantations. This is despite the fact that ever since 2006 the model used to fight against drug-trafficking has changed.

Spraying with glyphosate is inefficient as the cost of eradicating a hectare by aerial spraying is higher than the market price of the coca leaf that is grown in this area. This means that it would be cheaper for the government to buy the coca leaves and then destroy them than it would be to rely on aerial spraying. Also, this type of eradication puts the health of communities neighboring the sprayed areas at risk. Spraying an area only leads to the coca farmers moving to a different area to continue growing.

Spraying a coca plantation does not mean that the number of plantations in the country will decrease. The discussion has focused on the negative aspects of glyphosate in terms of health or if the government really has the desire to eradicate the plantations, but no emphasis has been put on the facts regarding spraying and how ineffective it is in terms of its main objective: reducing the number of plantations. This lack of information does not allow any advance in the discussion of how to combat illegal plantations.

Meanwhile, Luis Carlos Villegas –the Minister of Defense– suggests the hypothesis that the FARC encouraged the area of coca plantations to be increased during the peace negotiations. There are indeed arguments that explain how this is one of the reasons for the increase as, during the peace agreements, important benefits were promised to growers who replaced coca plantations with another crop as part of the peace agreement framework. According to our own calculations, the return from a hectare of land would be better for those who accepted the agreement than for those who used the land to continue growing coca. As such, it is possible that the FARC stimulated the increase in plantations in order to gain more political returns from the replacement programs; however, the information available does not allow us to assert that this is the main determining reason for the increase.

If the FARC played an important role in the increase in the number of illicit plantations during the peace process, you would expect that the coca plantations would drastically increase in the following months. This is due, in part, to the Census of Coca Growers and also the implementation of the replacement programs that are part of the peace agreements. When families begin to plant replacement crops, there should be no incentives for new plantations and the figures should decline.

It is very important to consider punitive measures, which can be understood as seizures and the destruction of infrastructure. These are more significant factors in explaining the increase in the number of coca plantations over previous years rather than spraying with glyphosate. This is because, if there is a reduction in the number of seizures and destruction of drug-trafficking infrastructure, the expected value of the drug business increases as there is less risk of losing the product; thus, the production of coca leaf will also increase. This observation is supported by significant fall in the number of seizures in 2010, which was accompanied by a rise in the number of coca plantations reported by the Integrated Illicit Crops Monitoring System (SIMCI for its acronym in Spanish).

Colombia has made a huge effort over recent years to impose punitive measures on drug-trafficking. The Colombian Navy is currently working together with the Panamanian and Mexican navies as well as those of neighboring countries to try to improve the implementation of maritime punitive measures. However, the United States has not been influential in terms of cooperation despite the technology it has at its disposal to help implement a process of more efficient punitive measures. While Colombia and other Latin American countries’ effort can be seen in the data on punitive measures, taking into account Foreign Minister María A. Holguín’s warning, the U.S. government needs to be more active on this front.

Furthermore, there are the illegal plantation replacement programs, which are progressing very slowly and depend on the diversity that exists in the particular region. These programs will not yield significant short-term results; however, the results that are achieved will be due to the will of the communities as well as how well the program is managed. There are, however, regions that need to be more carefully considered, and the presence of violent armed groups delay positive results in terms of the voluntary replacement of coca. Obtaining clear results in some regions is of vital importance for wide-spread adoption in the rest of the areas in which there are illegal plantations, but no short-term successes should be expected. With this in mind, in 2017, there will be an important reduction in the number of coca plantations, but the number will not be as big as the government hopes.

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