Consortium fortifies commitment to create collaborations

By Kelly Montoya

Consortium fortifies commitment to create collaborations

By Kelly Montoya
Members of the University of Miami-led Hemispheric University Consortium share a fresh outlook for the fall semester and launch a new website that enhances a connection between education, research, and innovation.

In a time when international travel is restricted and study-abroad programs are canceled, members of the Hemispheric University Consortium (HUC) got creative on innovative ways to immerse and integrate students and other initiatives throughout the international network.

“These are challenging times for higher education and our world, but together we will grow and succeed in our common mission to educate students, create knowledge, innovation, and provide service to our hemispheric community and beyond,” said Jeffrey Duerk, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, who has an active role in the University’s ongoing hemispheric development.

This fall, the consortium members plan on hosting a series of virtual events, including the “Global Week: Diversity in a Globalized World”—where students from Tec de Monterrey and the University of Miami will conduct in-depth analysis of health care systems in Mexico and the United States—and the Latitude Zero Talks, which will take a deep dive into the cultural aspects and the sustainable development of the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador.

The consortium members will also unveil the “Hemispheric Student Dialogues on Sustainable Development Goals” series, where students will be able to virtually collaborate and develop strategies around the five key pillars of the HUC, which include: public health and well-being; climate change, sustainability, and resilience; entrepreneurship and inclusive innovation; crime, conflict, and corruption; and technology and innovation for education.

The consortium—which has roots across Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States—will host a Summit of Library Directors. Leaders at their respective institutions will explore ways to coordinate their individual activities and identify collective strategies to support the consortium’s problem-based grand challenge research agendas by enabling regular information sharing and capacity building.

The outcomes of this fall’s initiative’s will be highlighted on the HUC’s newly launched central website, which is an innovative platform that enhances academic collaborations across the member institutions to face diverse challenges in the hemisphere and the globe, share experiences, and construct shared solutions.

“The Hemispheric University Consortium was founded with the purpose of mobilizing a new generation of students, teachers, and researchers across the Americas to learn, teach, and act as global citizens,” said President Julio Frenk, who is currently serving as the consortium’s president.

“The launch of this website is an important milestone. We are together constructing knowledge, sharing research and innovation, and building a new inclusive future not only for the hemisphere but the globe,” he added.

The new website provides information on the consortium universities and  collaborative initiatives addressing key challenges that confront societies in line with global action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. In addition, there is information on international events hosted by the institution members and the consortium and blogs with news about the different hemispheric initiatives.

“In the future we will feature more blog posts about research, education, social entrepreneurship, innovation, and impact of the work our experts are doing in the hemispheric,” explained Gabriela Geron, the director of partnerships, innovation, and communications at the University’s Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

Serving as a collective for information about the overall COVID-19 hemispheric response, the website also hosts an interactive page about resources and assets that address the current crisis through the eyes of each member institution.  Dedicated COVID-19 websites, resources for students and faculty, online and collaborative resources, research and innovation projects, facilities supporting the emergency, and informative webinars are shared.

Information about the Innovation Observatory—a multilateral online platform that showcases the major research projects, infrastructure for innovation, capacity building programs, and annual R&D reports of the members of the consortium—can also be found on the new site. This section encourages cross-border research and collaboration and highlights the collective innovative initiatives of each member of the consortium.

“This new website is an extraordinary example of our strong partnerships across the hemisphere,” added Geron. “This is just the beginning of many more collaborations and shared projects.”

Visit https://thehuc.org/ for more information about the HUC initiatives this semester.