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A spirit of collaboration

Jan 09, 2023

Last month, the governor of the state of Utah invited a delegation of leaders from Peru to visit with business and university leaders across the state. I was fortunate to represent Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion division (EDI), along with Dr. Daniel K. Cairo, Ms. Emma E. Houston, and Dr. Paméla Cappas-Toro. This was a momentous occasion because it was the first time that we received a delegation of this kind at EDI, although I was able to visit with university leaders in Peru in 2017. That time, the meeting was held in Lima, Peru. This meeting was held in the Winder Board Room in the Park Building.

There were multiple leaders from Peru in the delegation:

In addition, there were many members from the Global Engagement and Global Health divisions at the University of Utah, and we had a robust conversation on the ways we can all collaborate.

Of note, there was history being made here. Dr. Jeri Gloria Ramón Ruffner de Vega is the first woman to occupy the position of president of the Universidad San Marcos. Founded in 1551 it is the oldest continuously operating university in the Americas. President Ramón Ruffner de Vega is also well connected to Utah, as her daughter studied at Brigham Young University and she has visited many times, although only this time as president of Universidad San Marcos. She shared that she and Dr. Lida Asencios Trujillo are among a handful of university presidents in Peru, and that they are working together to increase that number, and ensure equity for women in academia. That message resonated well with the attendees in the group.

In addition, Dr. Martell Teasley, interim senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Utah, also addressed the group. His message of open collaboration was well received by our visitors.

I was happy to see that the conversation was also being interpreted, first by David Utrilla, then me, then by Dr. Cappas-Toro, whose skills and mastery in that space impressed all of us. She did not miss a word, even while interpreting for people who did not give her adequate time to do it. Near the end of the conversation, the delegation and the University of Utah representatives agreed to meet again, and to formalize relationships. A document was started at that meeting, with the goal of it becoming a memorandum of understanding with the Universidad Nacional Mayor San Marcos, and the Universidad Nacional de Educacion, as well as the University of Utah. In the meantime, the faculty members in the meeting agreed to continue working together, and to find was to collaborate in research. Overall, an exciting time to be at Utah!

José E. Rodríguez, MD, FAAFP

Jan 09, 2023 7:56 AM