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Universität Heidelberg to Open “Centre of Excellence for Research and Teaching” in Santiago de Chile

Press Release No. 218/2010
6 October 2010
Extension of the Heidelberg Center for Latin America funded by resources from the Federal Foreign Office
The Heidelberg Center for Latin America (HCLA) in Santiago de Chile

In collaboration with Chilean partner institutions, the Heidelberg Center for Latin America (HCLA) is to be upgraded to a “Centre of Excellence for Research and Teaching”. After Heidelberg University was successful in a competition organised by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) last year, the HCLA will be receiving funding from the Federal Foreign Office for the extension of its activities. The new Centre of Excellence, one of four institutions of its kind in various parts of the world, will be officially opened on 7 October 2010.

The German contingent attending the festive opening ceremony includes the Rector of Heidelberg University, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office, Dr. Peter Ammon, and Deputy Secretary General of the DAAD, Ulrich Grothus. The Minister of the General Secretariat of Government, Dr. Ena von Baer, will be welcoming the audience on behalf of the Chilean government. High-ranking representatives of the Latin American partner institutions will also be present. The Heidelberg University Medal will be awarded to Nuria Alsina as a token of recognition for her many years of sterling service in furthering the cooperative relations between Heidelberg University and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. The same distinction will also be conferred on Prof. Dr. Carlos Huneeus of the Universidad de Chile, director of the Centro de Estudios de la Realidad Contempóranea (CERC), for his outstanding commitment in promoting Heidelberg University’s academic cooperation with Chile and Latin America.

The Heidelberg Center for Latin America was established in 2002. Since then, it has collaborated with the Pontificia Universidad Católica and the Universidad de Chile in developing, exporting and conducting study and continuing education programmes. Among the other target countries in Latin America alongside Chile are Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Paraguay. “With the first, and so far only graduate centre maintained by a German university in Latin America,” says the Managing Director of the Center, Dr. Walter Eckel, “Heidelberg was quick off the mark in establishing itself on this education market.”

After a master’s programme in international law and a joint bi-national doctoral programme in the field of psychotherapy, the scope of the centre will extend to astronomy, earth and environmental sciences and computer science and physics for medical students. Master’s and doctoral courses, continuing education offerings and the establishment of research groups are all at the preparation stage. The HCLA is receiving funding of approx. 2.1 million euros over a period of five years for this purpose.

Centres of Excellence are cooperative research and teaching ventures involving German universities and partner institutions in other parts of the world. Their aim is to create networks enabling excellent research scientists and scholars from abroad to liaise with their German counterparts. In the competition organised by the German Academic Exchange Service referred to earlier, the other universities submitting successful proposals were Gießen University (Santa Maria/Colombia), Frankfurt University (Bangkok/Thailand) and the Free University of Berlin (St. Petersburg/Russia).

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Dr. Walter Eckel
Heidelberg Center for Latin America

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