Expanding Partnerships in Costa Rica 

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 4, 2019) — With a new presidential administration and ambitious plans to revitalize its economy, Costa Rica is turning to American colleges and universities to help make the country an educational and economic showpiece for Central America.

Following an invitation from Costa Rican Congressman Pedro Miguel Muñoz Fonseca, President Havidán Rodríguez and Hudson Valley Community College President Roger Ramsammy recently visited Costa Rica and met with First Lady Claudia Dobles and the Minister of Education to explore potential synergies.

Building productive, long-term and sustainable partnerships between HVCC, UAlbany and partners in Costa Rica was the main purpose of the trip.

The fledgling relationship between the country and a two-year community college, something that’s virtually non-existent in Central America, is the first of its kind. Costa Rican leaders welcome the kind of fast-track training that community colleges provide, as well as the seamless access many graduates of Hudson Valley have to continue their education at the University at Albany.

“The University at Albany is honored to partner with Hudson Valley Community College to build new partnerships and expand and strengthen current relationships in Costa Rica,” President Rodríguez said. “It was also a privilege to meet our colleagues at the Universidad de Costa Rica as we are currently celebrating 10 years of a very successful partnership led by our School of Public Health.”

One of the goals of the visit was to build a pipeline to attract Costa Rican students to HVCC with the opportunity to transfer to UAlbany to complete a four-year degree. Another aim was to recruit graduate students in particular, as well as undergraduates, directly to UAlbany.

This aligns with UAlbany’s core priority of internationalization, while helping Costa Rica increase the number of students who have the education needed to compete in today’s economy.

A Comprehensive Agenda

The two local leaders met with Claudia Dobles Camargo, the first lady of Costa Rica, who leads an education initiative that includes bilingualism and college and workforce readiness to improve the economy. UAlbany’s Intensive English Language Program can be beneficial to Costa Rica’s academic and workforce development goal of increasing English proficiency.

In addition, they met with Minister of Public Education Edgar Mora to explore partnerships that could promote education in technical fields.

The two presidents also had interactions with the minister of science and several "diputados” (congressmen and women), as well as business and academic leaders to discuss education, emerging technology, and labor force needs in Costa Rica, and the role institutions of higher education can play in this process. Both presidents made presentations to members of the Costa Rican congress and to business, community and educational leaders.

The trip was planned in partnership with the Costa Rica Investment and Promotion Agency and PROCOMER, two economic development organizations promoting education, business and industry collaboration with Costa Rica.

Through UAlbany’s long-standing partnership with the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), students from UAlbany travel to Costa Rica over the winter session months with SPH Professor John Justino to learn about that country’s highly regarded universal health care system, and public health students from UCR visit New York during the summer to learn about the U.S. health care system. While the president was in Costa Rica,  he also met with a group of UAlbany students participating in the popular "Life and Service in La Fortuna" study abroad program and their faculty leader, Student Engagement Community Coordinator Leah Rotella.

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