Uniting to face the challenges of tomorrow

University of Miami Vice President for Hemispheric and Global Affairs Lourdes Dieck-Assad, University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, UM President Julio Frenk, and UWI Ambassador Gillian Bristol, director of the Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC) in the Office for Global Affairs, close the second meeting of the Hemispheric University Consortium in Kingston, Jamaica.

By Janette Neuwahl Tannen

University of Miami Vice President for Hemispheric and Global Affairs Lourdes Dieck-Assad, University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, UM President Julio Frenk, and UWI Ambassador Gillian Bristol, director of the Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC) in the Office for Global Affairs, close the second meeting of the Hemispheric University Consortium in Kingston, Jamaica.

Uniting to face the challenges of tomorrow

By Janette Neuwahl Tannen
The second meeting of the Hemispheric University Consortium in Jamaica added new members and signed a memorandum of understanding.

The University of Miami is actively working with universities across the western hemisphere to tackle systemic problems like health care, climate change, and crime as part of the Hemispheric University Consortium. Toward that goal, President Julio Frenk and a team of University representatives spent Tuesday with university leaders from across the Americas and the Caribbean for the second meeting of the consortium at the University of the West Indies’ campus in Kingston, Jamaica.

“The consortium has become an active platform for likeminded, focused institutions to exchange knowledge about the consequences faced by this region and across the planet,” Frenk said in his opening remarks. “This is a way to connect our faculties, our students, and our experts to provide the educational quality that our [region’s] challenges demand from us.”

Second meeting of the Hemispheric University ConsortiumOn Tuesday the group signed a memorandum of understanding for the consortium and celebrated the addition of four new members: the Universidad Austral in Argentina, Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador, York University in Canada and Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in the Dominican Republic. The consortium, a component of the University’s Roadmap to Our New Century, will provide a means for UM to foster joint research initiatives throughout the region.

“The gathered leaders not only formalized our operations in the HUC but committed to creating financial structures to support HUC collaborations in research, education and innovation,” said Lourdes Dieck-Assad, UM’s vice president for hemispheric and global affairs. “Altogether, this second meeting has set foundations for the HUC to enter its next, exciting phase of operations.”  

Founded at the University of Miami in 2018, the consortium has grown to include a network of 14 universities throughout the Americas and the Caribbean that are working to bolster collaborative research in five areas: climate change, public health, entrepreneurship, crime, and technology.

At a workshop last spring hosted by UM, members brainstormed innovations that the universities could work together to accomplish, such as an international observatory, a center for social entrepreneurship, and a technology transfer network.

Some projects now underway include the School of Nursing and Health Studies’ minority health international research training program, where nursing students are paired with mentors from consortium universities to participate in training experiences where they will get a chance to research differences in health care among minority populations.

Another study highlighted at the conference was a joint effort between UM and two Mexican institutions called “Worlds of Journalism,” which examines threats to the sustainability of an independent press throughout Latin America, and the struggles that journalists must face to report the news.