OAS opening higher education agency in Coral Gables
By Paola Iuspa
The Washington, DC-based Organization of American States is opening an agency in Coral Gables designed to offer continuing education to government officials and educators from throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Planned for an April opening, Ronald Scheman, director general of the OAS's Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development, said the agency's goal is to help overcome poverty in developing countries through education.
Carlos Paldao, director of the agency's Information Technology & Human Development division, said the "Advanced Studies Program of the Americas" will share a Coral Gables site with the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia of Spain. The university, with more than 40 years in distance-learning, opened offices in December at 2655 LeJeune Road.
The OAS agency centered its search for a site in Florida because of its many universities and research centers dealing with Central and South American relations, Mr. Paldao said.
He said his group, in partnership with the university, offers fellowships and training in issues such as dollarization, free trade and democracy. The center, to have up to 12 full-time staffers, would also serve as a meeting point for discussion of problems related to the Americas, he said.
The center, now sealing alliances to tap state university faculty for seminars and video-conferencing programs, will use information technology to reach as many communities as possible, said Jorge Sanin, the agency's coordinator overseeing the Coral Gables project.
The center, he said, is being created in response to a resolution signed at the Summit of the Americas 2000 in Quebec that called for promoting education through technology to reduce the knowledge gap and the digital divide in developing nations.