The Santander Group is a partner in the EU-funded Alfa Puentes project, co-ordinated by the European University Association, aiming at building capacities of university associations in fostering Latin America regional integration in higher education. The SG Network participates in the Project Management Team and is responsible for the communication between Latin American and European partners as well as for the development of the project activities.
The project builds upon existing sub-regional convergence processes in LA, articulated by the Andean Community, the Mercosur region and Central America/ Mexico. Mutual learning activities between LA and European associations and their members will target quality assurance reform, enhancing recognition of degrees, building qualifications frameworks and increasing academic mobility. The project looks to build wider regional convergence from the bottom up, utilising the sub-regional experience as a building block. It simultaneously aims to generate stronger working relationships between European and LA associations.
Developed over three years, the project consists of a region wide survey of university leadership and faculty in LA that provide comparable data on how universities are currently reforming teaching, research, internationalisation, quality assurance, and governance/management.
In the second phase of the project, sub-regional initiatives will be taken-up, driven by the associations of the specific sub-region:
- Building a quality assurance and recognition framework for the Andean Community;
- Building an internationalisation and mobility strategy for the 'Mercosur' region;
- Setting up qualifications framework for Central America.
European partners will support the initiatives, and share their respective experience under the European Bologna Process where appropriate. Transversal activities, such as two major Europe-LA university association conferences and bi-lateral networking activities for European and LA associations, will also be incorporated throughout the project.
Alfa PUENTES brings together six associations from Europe (led by EUA, and including national associations from France (CPU), Germany (HRK), Spain (CRUE), Poland (CRASP) and Portugal (CRUP)) together with partners across LA, as well as OBREAL and the Asociación Grupo Santander (AGS). Each association has a respective history of cooperation with Latin America, and will utilise the project to deepen and broaden higher education internationalisation and bi-regional dialogue.