USC Price signs MOU with Universidad de los Andes in Colombia

September 28, 2015

Angela McCracken (right) and Carol Rush (center, right) with Natalia Rubio Parra and Laura Andrea Correa Rodriguez at the Universidad de los Andes. Parra and Rodriguez are from the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Universidad de los Andes.

By Cristy Lytal

The USC Price School of Public Policy is expanding its global presence into Colombia through a new partnership with Bogota’s Alberto Lleras Camargo School of Government at the Universidad de los Andes. The recently signed agreement facilitates academic and research collaboration in the fields of public policy and urban planning at the two schools.

“We see Colombia strengthening, stabilizing and becoming an ever more important player in Latin America,” said Angela McCracken, who directs USC’s Mexico office and helped identify this opportunity for collaboration. “The Universidad de los Andes is a premier private institution in Colombia, and they’ve been so welcoming and eager to partner with USC.”

Founded in 2006, the Alberto Lleras Camargo School of Government at the Universidad de los Andes is dedicated to improving the quality of public policies and state administration by “producing people with the ability to lead,” in the words of its namesake, who is the current president of the university and former president of Colombia. The school offers a major and minor in Government and Public Affairs, a minor in Public Health, a Master in Public Policy (MPP) and a Master in Public Health (MSc).

“It’s a very forward-thinking school,” said Carol Rush, associate dean for student affairs and enrollment management at USC Price. “It offers programs in similar areas as the Price School, and its work and goals align closely with our own. This exchange will serve to enrich both schools greatly.”

The MOU promotes the collaborative undertaking of education, professional training, research and institutional development for the benefit of the two nations, and the two schools.

Gaining a global perspective

Beginning in January, two to three undergraduate or graduate students from each school will participate in semester-long exchange programs. Students from both USC and the Universidad de los Andes will have the opportunity to study abroad, improve their foreign language skills and gain new perspectives.

“USC students will get a perspective on Latin American politics that you can only really see on the ground. The Colombian students will get to experience Los Angeles, be in a truly global city and see the problems of urbanization and multiculturalism on a much larger scale than they would see in Bogota,” said McCracken.

“On both sides, students can increase their international competencies, which are really in demand by every type of employer now,” she added. “Employers look for students who are adaptable, flexible and experienced working in another culture.”

In addition, faculty members and researchers can also participate in exchanges, such as conferences, teaching or research activities, of up to a year in duration.

Dean Jack H. Knott and Anthony Bailey, USC’s vice provost for global initiatives, signed the memorandum of understanding on behalf of the university.