IIE Networker - Fall 2009 - (Page 34)

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION INITIATIVES International Education Initiatives in Latin America International education initiatives in Latin America vary in focus, scope and structure. Some programs, such as those sponsored by the Organization of American States, work across country lines to cultivate regional cooperation and student exchange. Other programs such as Chile’s BECAS CHILE and Colombia’s COLFUTURO, foster human capacity development at the national level using distinct funding models and administrative structures tailored to the specific needs of the country. In addition to encouraging students to study abroad, many programs, such as the Program for Promotion of Argentine Universities focus on student recruitment. Though these programs only represent a fraction of the international initiatives in Latin America, the descriptions below provide a window to four diverse approaches. Organization of American States: Partnerships for Human Capacity Development in the Americas By Jeanelle van GlaanenWeygel and Lesley Zark THE ORGANIZATION OF American States (OAS) is an international organization which brings together the countries of the Western Hemisphere to strengthen cooperation and advance common interests. It is the region’s premier forum for multilateral dialogue and concerted action. Considered the principal hemispheric body for the defense of democratic values and institutions, it also plays a leading role in such areas as education, science, justice, labor, defense, culture, sustainable development, telecommunications, human rights, and combating drugs and corruption. The Department of Human Development of the Organization of American States (DHD/ OAS) is responsible for advising and assisting the OAS member countries with the design and development of policies and programs to promote human capacity development and regional integration by preparing citizens for employment through post-secondary and higher education initiatives. One of its core missions is financing higher education for citizens of OAS member countries through the following programs: • OAS Academic Scholarship Program: Funds up to two years of graduate or undergraduate study in an OAS member country. • Professional Development Scholarship Program: Provides scholarships for participation in short-term professional development training. • Virtual Classroom of the Educational Portal of the Americas: Offers low-cost online courses to individuals with limited time and access to quality training. • Leo S. Rowe Fund: Provides interest-free loans to study in the United States. Since the inception of the OAS scholarship programs in 1958 and the Leo S. Rowe loan program in 1948, over 90,000 citizens of OAS member countries have benefited from long and short-term OAS scholarships and loans. The OAS Academic Scholarship Program OAS Academic Scholarships are awarded on a yearly basis. Beneficiaries must undergo a rigorous selection process in their respective countries, and a subsequent review by an international selection committee that examines the best candidates from each OAS-member country. The scholarship covers, in whole or in part: tuition and mandatory fees, international airfare, health insurance, living expenses, and books. The scholarship is capped at $30,000 per academic year, and can be awarded for up to two academic years. To promote regional integration, DHD/OAS established the OAS Consortium of over 100 universities and educational institutions from 17 OAS member country universities. There is no membership fee to join the Consortium, but member countries are required to sign a cooperation agreement and provide benefits to OAS scholarship students. Benefits range from partial to full tuition waivers and/or university scholarships, to teaching or research assistantships. Member institutions also provide nonmonetary benefits such as cultural orientation seminars. With the development of the consortium, an increasing number of students choose to study at OAS Consortium universities that offer the best financial packages, in contrast to 4-5 years ago when students preferred to study in big-name universities in only a few Fernanda Palermo, a Brazilian OAS Scholarship recipient, is pursuing an LLM degree at George Washington University. “My studies on the implementation of public-private partnerships in developing countries is an outstanding opportunity to contribute to the future of my home country,” she says. countries. In addition, an increasing number of scholarship recipients request to be placed in countries and educational institutions where the cost of living is lower. DHD/OAS has also observered that students are studying closer to home—Caribbean students choosing to study in the Caribbean and Latin American students in Latin America. It is not clear whether these trends result from the increased variety of reputable institutions in the Consortium, the world’s economic crisis, the complementary nature of the OAS scholarship, or a combination of all three. What is safe to say, however, is that the OAS member countries are pleased with the broader geographic distribution of host countries and institutions, and the fact that OAS scholars are 34

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Fall 2009

IIE Networker - Fall 2009
Message from Allan E. Goodman
Public Diplomacy and Academic Exchange: Policy Priorities of the New Administration
Student Mobility Trends in Latin America
Promoting Inclusiveness in Higher Education in Latin America: A Policy Response
IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series
Student Recruitment in the Caribbean: New Strategies for Cooperation
Bridging Borders: A Project for the Development and Diversification of Higher Learning Institutions in the United States and Haiti
Recent Challenges to Study Abroad in Mexico: Economic Crisis, Security Risks, H1N1
Special Feature: International Education Initiatives in Latin America
New York City and Sao Paulo, Public Policy and Business: A New Dual Degree Partnership
The Browser: Advertisers' Index
IIE Program Profile: The IIE Regional Office for Latin America

IIE Networker - Fall 2009