Rutgers-Camden Welcomes Paraguayan University to Build on Dynamic Partnership: Rutgers-Camden Campus News

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Ongoing projects between partner universities focus on research, ethics, equity, transparency and indigenous populations in Paraguay.

November 19, 2021

By Sam Starnes

CAMDEN, New Jersey – Rutgers – Camden University hosted a delegation of university leaders from the Universidad Nacional de Asunción (UNA), the largest university in Paraguay, for a week-long visit as part of a partnership and multi-faceted project between the two universities.

Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, Professor Emeritus of the Rutgers Board of Governors and Director of the Community leadership center at Rutgers-Camden, initiated the partnership when she was a Fulbright Specialist in Paraguay from 2017 to 2018.

“I fell in love with UNA because part of the job they wanted to do was develop a university of the future,” Bonilla-Santiago said.

Chancellor of Rutgers University, Camden, Antonio D. Tillis, receives a medallion from Zully Vera de Molinas, Rector of the UNA, as Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, eminent professor of the Board of Governors watch.

Rutgers University – Chancellor of Camden Antonio D. Tillis, an Afro-Hispanic studies specialist who speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese and has traveled extensively in Latin America, met the delegation on Monday.

“As we all know, the world is getting smaller and smaller,” Tillis said. “The global world is upon us and international exchanges are important not only for research professors and our staff, but provide even more valuable experiences for our students. “

The global partnership has four objectives: to promote research; transform UNA into 21st-university century; train ambassadors in Paraguay; and the creation of NGOs that reach out to vulnerable indigenous populations in Paraguay. A fundamental development of the partnership was the creation of the Higher Education Center for Ethics, Fairness and Transparency (HECEET) in Paraguay, which is a three-year global initiative led by the Rutgers University-Camden Community Leadership Center and funded by a $ 3 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Under the leadership of Bonilla-Santiago, HECEET embodies the collective vision of its partners and cosponsors for the development of an institutional structure within the UNA that promotes ethics, equity and transparency in all sectors of Paraguay. . It is committed to extending the vast resources of UNA beyond its 55,000 students and to the entire Paraguayan community in the areas of research, extension programs and university programs.

Zully Vera de Molinas, Rector of UNA, led the UNA delegation and said the partnership will make a difference in Paraguay.

“Our university is a university dedicated to bringing about change, not only for our students, but for our local and national community,” Vera de Molinas said through a translator. Vera de Molinas became rector of the university – which is the equivalent of a president – in 2019, making her the first woman to lead the university in its 132-year history.

The visit of the UNA delegation included a visit to the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden and meetings with faculty.

The UNA delegation, which included three deans and two members of the executive team, spent four days meeting deans and faculty on the Rutgers – Camden campus and one day on the Rutgers – New Brunswick campus. It followed a visit to Paraguay last week by faculty members from Bonilla-Santiago and Rutgers-Camden. Nancy Pontes, associate professor of nursing and Maria Solesio Torregrosa, assistant professor of biology. In addition, the Rutgers-Camden faculty members who attended this week’s conference and who are engaged with the UNA faculty in the research are David Salas de la Cruz, associate professor of chemistry; Patrice Marshal, associate professor of public policy and administration; Maureen Donaghy, associate professor of political science; and Kimberlee moran, associate professor and director of forensic medicine.

“These two weeks of collaboration, here and in Paraguay, have been exceptional,” said Bonilla-Santiago. “This partnership will benefit UNA and the nation of Paraguay, but also enrich the faculty, staff and students of Rutgers University through the connections we are making with our friends in Paraguay.”

Images from the visit of the Paraguayan delegation, as well as images from the Rutgers-Camden trip to Paraguay, are in this slideshow:


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