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Laspau’s Inaugural Higher Education Summit of the Americas kicks off in Cartagena, Colombia

Cumbre de la Educación Superior de las Américas - Cartagena de Indias 16 y 17 de Noviembre de 2018
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Cartagena, COLOMBIA November 16, 2018- Laspau, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Harvard University, has launched the inaugural Higher Education Summit of the Americas, which is being held November 16th and 17th, 2018 in Cartagena, Colombia.

The Summit has convened over 100 leaders from government, business and higher education across 14 countries to re-envision the role of the university in Latin America and the Caribbean and advance its relevance and impact in 21st-century society. These leaders include university presidents and vice presidents, government ministers and secretaries and business leaders from across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Through this milestone event, Laspau is harnessing the collective knowledge of leaders across the region as well as bridging collaboration across government, business and higher education sectors. Over the next two days, leaders will be discussing societal challenges in relation to academic research, international trends, and system-wide practices for cultivating innovation ecosystems and knowledge-based societies.

The summit includes sessions including Defining Excellence: The Role of Higher Education Quality in a

Competitive EnvironmentThe Hemispheric University: Global Engagement in an Era of Retrenchment, and Crises and Opportunities: Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Laspau’s Executive Director, Angélica Natera, commented, “We are very excited to see this unique event coming to fruition and grateful for the opportunity to exchange ideas with leaders from across the Americas who are working to make higher education stronger on a daily basis. We see this event as the start of an ongoing dialogue that will have an impact for years to come.”

Over the past 50 years, Laspau has collaborated closely with governments, foundations, nonprofits and educational institutions across the Americas. The organization currently manages several longstanding scholarship programs for partners such as the Fulbright Program of the U.S. Department of State, the Organization of American States, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, among others. Additionally, over the past ten years, Laspau has helped hundreds of universities across the region to improve their quality and effectiveness by connecting them with the latest knowledge and pioneering faculty in the field through programs to strengthen teaching and learning, enhance the quality and impact of education, and promote innovation and academic leadership. The Higher Education Summit of the Americas represents the nexus of these areas of work and seeks to further strengthen and promote meaningful collaboration across higher education, business and governments throughout the Americas.

At the conclusion of the Summit a compilation of innovative ideas, practical actions, and proposals obtained from the various sessions will be published for the good of the entire region.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of Practice in International Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education (View Welcome Message:
  • Julio Frenk, President, University of Miami (View Welcome Message:
  • Alberto Bustamante, Director of Education Industry for Latin America and the Caribbean, Microsoft Edward Crawley, Ford Professor of Engineering, MIT
  • María Marta Ferreyra, Senior Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean, World Bank
  • Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University
  • Eric Mazur, Dean of Applied Physics, Harvard University
  • Richard K. Miller, President of Olin College
  • Jamil Salmi, Tertiary Education Expert
  • Cecilia María Vélez, President of Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano


This event is by invitation only. Additional information can be found on the event website at

About Laspau

Laspau is a nonprofit organization affiliated with Harvard University that enhances higher educational quality, opportunity and impact throughout the Americas. For over fifty years we have been building a human network, connecting individuals and institutions with opportunities, through admissions testing, scholarship management, university development and alliance building.

Connecting over 1,000 institutions, 18,000 scholars and 5,000 educators, we create opportunity and drive innovation. By bridging high-quality institutions and building communities of effective faculty who instruct ever-growing numbers of students, our network expands, opening up cutting-edge opportunities. This echoing impact works to achieve our vision of fostering knowledge-based, inclusive societies throughout the Western Hemisphere.


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