More Pacific in Los Andes
The Universidad de los Andes is carrying out projects to promote cultural exchange and strengthen the connection with the Colombian Pacific.
The Universidad de los Andes is working on interdisciplinary projects and programs in the Colombian Pacific to help facilitate access to quality higher education for the people who live in the region, which has high poverty indexes. This make it difficult for families from the area to access even the basic items such as products from the family food basket.
Because of this situation, the university has suggested a support model so talented young people from the region can study at Los Andes and their development can be harnessed. Through these measures, coastal development can be promoted; this is how the Quiero Estudiar Pacífico idea was born.
This innovative and self-sustainable model was created based on values such as reciprocation and solidarity. These allow the students who benefit from the program to commit to helping other young people in order to continue to strengthen the program and increase the number of students from the Pacific in Los Andes. It also seeks to incentivize new leaders emerging in the region. With the help of donations, a more equal, diverse, and inclusive society can be built.
Cultural exchange and the connection with the Pacific region inspire a mutual learning process for the university in terms of the country’s realities. As such, this initiative allows Los Andes to expand its impact with other projects such as Semillero Pacífico in which students, professors, and alumni from all disciplines are involved in research projects the central focus of which is to mitigate problems in the region.
What is the Semillero Pacífico?
A group of Economics students from Los Andes saw the development potential of the Colombian Pacific and promoted a series of projects to inspire the creation of business opportunities in this area of the country. This initiative was called the Semillero Pacífico and was inspired by a talented student from Los Andes Miguel Alejandro Rodríguez from Quibdó who first planted the idea of the university strengthening links with this area.
The project was promoted as an initiative for students, professors, and alumni who worked on the task of analyzing different social and economic problems in the region to try and find solutions from an academic perspective. One of the challenges identified by the Semillero was the lack of opportunities that young people from the Pacific had to gain access to quality higher education. Thus, the Semillero began to look for the necessary support to change this reality.
Unfortunately, Miguel Alejandro did not manage to fulfil his dream of accelerating the development in his region. On July 25, 2017 he was involved in an accident on the road from Quibdó to Medellín and lost his life along with his dreams as well as those of a community that was relying on him.
Juan Camilo Cárdenas, dean of the Faculty of Economics at Los Andes remembers that, “He wanted to use economics to transform the patterns of discrimination and segregation that exist in this country”.
The Semillero Pacífico is, today, a space which, as well as understanding the dynamics of the coast, works as a support group for students from this region who managed to receive help from the Quiero Estudiar Pacífico fund. In this way, the university community can assure their commitment to the region from different angles.