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OAS and University of Pennsylvania Launch Book on Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean

  June 2, 2023

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the University of Pennsylvania launched the book Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean: Civic Engagement and the Democratic Mission, today at OAS headquarters in Washington D.C.

The book compiles best practices from researchers, practitioners, and education representatives from across the region, as well as global partners, on how to strengthen global cooperation on higher education initiatives, specifically on democracy, social inclusion, educational access, and social engagement. This edited volume highlights regional expertise on how universities in Latin America and the Caribbean educate for participatory democracy, with a particular focus on how they collaborate with local communities to educate students as democratic citizens and support local development.

This book follows up on the formal establishment of the Learning Community of Higher Education Associations and Leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean in February 2022, during a conference, entitled, A Global Imperative: Recognizing the Democratic Mission of Higher Education – Learning with and from Latin America and the Caribbean, co-hosted by the OAS and the University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships and Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies.

Jesus Giacoman, Director, OAS Department for Human Development, Education and Employment, said, “this book not only demonstrates the innovative ways universities are promoting democratic values, global citizenry and community and social engagement in our region but underscore the role of higher education in the democratic development of our member states”

Caryn McTighe Musil, Distinguished Fellow, American Association of Colleges and Universities, said, “the educational landscape of an entire continent has come into sharper focus for the English-speaking world with the publication of this book. Making an indispensable contribution, it has brought Latin American and Caribbean nations more dramatically into conversation with one another about how universities can be a force for social transformation while promoting democratic values of justice and full inclusion.”

For his part, the former Head of the Education Department, Council of Europe, Sjur Bergan , said the book “will be essential reading for anyone concerned with Latin America, as well as with the democratic mission of higher education in a global perspective.”

The book includes contributions from university presidents in Ecuador, Chile, and Brazil; academics and university engagement officers from Puerto Rico, Argentina, Colombia, Jamaica, and Mexico; higher education association leaders; and regional thought leaders focused on advancing democracy and improving access for indigenous peoples.

Yadira Pinilla (

Maryem Bouatlaoui (

Reference: E-025/23