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From 10 October till 12 October, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) will host 14 members of the RIESAL network. RIESAL is part of Erasmus+ and is a regional network for the promotion of the Internationalisation of Higher Education in Latin America. Its objectives are to contribute to improvements in management for the internationalisation of higher education institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. The representatives who are visiting Brussels are from five countries: Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba and Uruguay.

Their time at VUB will be spread over three days where they will start by meeting representatives of the VUB’s International Relations office, but also with the ULB’s Conexx-Europe, which was set up to create, sustain and enhance cooperative relationships between Europe and Latin America. Later in the day they will visit the European Parliament. On Thursday they will spend the morning visiting various institutions in general, belonging to the EU and the City of Brussels, as well as a meeting with Flanders Knowledge Area.

 

But the highlight of the day will undoubtedly be the VUB’s first Latin America Day, which kicks off on the esplanade of the university’s main campus with a salsa dance session and different Latin America-inspired foods on offer. From 2 till 4pm the tent behind building Q will be home to a fair with some 25 booths, including some from 17 different countries from across the Latin American continent. Some of the universities from within the RIESAL network will also have a booth at the fair showcasing what their universities can offer students and staff alike. The day will progress with an academic panel discussion on building bridges between Latin America and Europe through education and scientific cooperation. Ismael Grôtte from the Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico will be the RIESAL representative participating in the debate. The first Latin America Day will close with a networking event in true Fiesta Latina style, with a tango demonstrations, food and drink and live music from a Cuban band.

 

The visitors have a full schedule ahead of them on Friday 12 October when they will receive visitors at VUB from IHEAL – the Institut des Hautes Etudes de L’Amérique Latine, as well as CREDA – the Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur les Amériques. After this they will this spend some time with UNAM, the Centro de Estudios Meixcanos and close the day with Dr David Oliva Uribe, Director of the EUMex-Connect office on the VUB’s campus.  

 

The main purpose of their visit to the VUB and Brussels is to learn from each other and the various stakeholders they will meet in Brussels, and share examples of best practices on how to optimise internationalisation at their home universities.

 

As part of the Erasmus+ Key Action 107, Professor Manuel Arsenio Lores Guevara, Professor in Physics and Yaimara Batista Fernandez, from the Universidad de Oriente’s International Relations office in Cuba are also among the visitors to VUB for the week.