During the NAFSA 2019 event, UMAP and Learn Chile representatives met with their peers from the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) network. Starting from 2019, as a result of the process led by Learn Chile, Chile has joined this regional university network, which includes 570 educational institutions in 36 countries, of which 21 are member countries with 23 universities.
This year, the National Secretariat will be coordinated by Universidad Católica del Maule, led by the university’s Outreach Director Jorge Burgos. “Membership in this network is in line with the way in which higher education institutions are addressing the issue of international relations where, rather than signing bilateral conventions, efforts are being made to focus on establishing collaboration networks. This gives us more flexibility, facilitates administrative monitoring of the agreements, and enables more cross-disciplinary areas of collaboration to be found. Similarly, this type of network is often aligned with countries’ economic development priorities, and as such it promotes connection between the public, private and academic sectors”, said Burgos.
Benefits for Chile
Forming part of this network offers major benefits to Chile, including an increase in exchange students between member countries in the medium term. By signing the agreement with UMAP, the Chilean higher education institutions that form part of this network can access its extensive student mobility and institutional collaboration potential.
UMAP’s International Secretariat, based in Japan, welcomed Chile, and outlined the scholarship options available: “Taiwan and Japan offer scholarships for incoming and outgoing students, and Canada offers leadership exchange scholarships for young people interested in studying in Chile. There are many programs for students to choose from, all of which are taught in English. For institutions, on the other hand, UMAP will be an ideal opportunity to develop their strategic partnerships with our member countries and territories”.
UMAP was founded in 1991 as a voluntary association of government and non-government representatives from the higher education sector. The network’s general objective is for each country and territory in the Asia-Pacific region to achieve greater understanding of the cultural, economic and social systems of other countries in the region through increased cooperation between higher education institutions, and greater mobility of students and staff.
For the student body, “the network consists primarily of three types of mobility program. The first is multilateral programs with reciprocity conditions between institutions without additional costs for students in terms of tuition fees. The second is between two universities, with specific conditions to be defined. And the third consists of a line of short-term programs. The UMAP network opens at least two application processes per year for students to apply to this type of programs”, explained Burgos.
In the case of academic professionals, “the UMAP network includes a special partial financing line for research development. The conditions for this program are defined on an annual basis, and proposals are selected by an international committee appointed by the network’s board of directors”.
13 Learn Chile member institutions have already joined this association in 2019:
Both NAFSA and EAIE (which will be attended by Learn Chile between September 24 and 27 this year) are key events at which UMAP coordination meetings will be held. “The topics to be addressed are related to specific coordination regarding scholarship application processes, reviewing the countries that are joining the network, and the strategic pillars that will be strengthened with greater emphasis”, concluded Burgos.
For a sixth consecutive year, educational institutions which form part of Learn Chile were present at the NAFSA 2019 conference, the largest meeting of international educators in the world, which took place from May 28 to 31 in Washington, D.C., United States. Chile joined more than 10,000 attendees from over 100 countries at this annual event.
Under the framework of NAFSA 2019, consortium representatives promoted their institutions’ academic offerings, and held more than 800 networking meetings with their peers from other countries. These meetings will give rise to more than 150 new cooperation agreements, which are expected to be signed to facilitate the arrival of students from all over the world who wish to continue their education in a Spanish-speaking country.
According to the Ministry of Education’s report on the Enrollment of Foreign Students in Chilean Higher Education Institutions, 86% of foreign exchange students who enrolled in Chile in 2017 did so through an agreement between their home university and the Chilean university at which they carried out their exchange program.
“University exchanges that take place under agreements have experienced sustained growth, and the results achieved at NAFSA will enable us to continue this positive trend”, said Learn Chile Director Marcos Avilez. In total, Chile receives more than 30,000 foreign students every year.
Chile is the most innovative economy in Latin America (Global Innovation Index) and leads the Latin America & Caribbean Edition of the Digital Evolution Index (DEI LAC). Learn Chile has set itself the objective of strengthening ties with the private sector. As part of these efforts, the NAFSA 2019 delegation visited the George Washington University Innovation Center, the 3M Innovation Center—a multinational company with branches in Chile—and Amazon’s renowned distribution center. Opportunities for exchanges between institutions arose at each of these visits.
Meanwhile, under the framework of NAFSA 2019, the “Applied research and innovation between associations in the United States and Chile” workshop was held at the American Councils for International Education in Washington, D.C. This workshop constituted an excellent opportunity to present the progress being made by universities from both countries in terms of research and innovation.
“We were very happy with the results of this meeting, which gave rise to collaboration opportunities in applied research for educational institutions that form part of Learn Chile”, said Steve Baeza, Director of Institutional Relations at Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción.
The Chilean delegation was greeted by the Chilean Ambassador to the United States, Alfonso Silva, at his residence, together with representatives from universities around the world, who the ambassador invited to visit Chile and establish agreements with the country’s educational institutions. The diplomat highlighted the work carried out by Learn Chile in the six years since it was created as the only network that brings together public and private universities from all over the country to promote the export of educational services throughout the world.