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OAS and University of La Rioja of Spain Sign Cooperation Agreement

  May 5, 2014

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the International University of La Rioja (UNITE) of Spain today signed a cooperation agreement that seeks to diversify and increase opportunities for training and development of the citizens of the Americas, especially through online education.

The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, said the signing of the agreement strengthens an area in which the hemispheric institution has been engaged for more than half a century. "It brings us the important support of educational institutions in Spain, and promotes offers of quality training and the exchange of best practices to ensure that we move along a path that everyone considers very central to the promotion of equality in our member countries," he said after signing the agreement at the OAS headquarters in Washington, DC

Secretary General Insulza said that the promotion of agreements in education "strengthens the issue of development and issues of learning and knowledge," and praised the educational level of Spain in general and in particular of the signatory institutions, which in his view "will result in added value for American students."

The OAS leader recalled that the hemispheric institution is immersed "in a discussion about how to improve the pillars of action of the Organization and of how best to define the programs, according to the times we live in today, and there is already a consensus that the issue of education should remain part of the Organization, as it has been since its inception." "We hope to work jointly for more inclusive societies in the Western Hemisphere with more opportunities, solutions and with true integral development," added Secretary General Insulza.

The Rector of the International University of La Rioja, José María Vázquez, expressed his pride at signing the agreement which will ease the expansion into Latin America of the institution he directs through distance learning courses online. "The agreement will allow for us to increase our role as an academic institution with an international focus on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, especially with our sister nations who speak the same language in Western Hemisphere," he said.

Rector Vázquez said the University of La Rioja and the UNIR Foundation made available to the governments and educational institutions of the Hemisphere their "expertise in long distance training via the Internet -which is our main academic capital- so we thank the OAS through its Secretary General for this opportunity given to us to make this collaboration."

The Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, Ambassador Jorge Hevia, also welcomed the agreement. "It is a privilege for Spain to have a close relationship with the OAS," he said and added, "our cooperation should not be limited solely to the Spanish Fund, but our challenge is to try to get other institutions, one way or another, to maintain a relationship through firm commitments or documents as we did today."

Ambassador Hevia said that universities are one of the sectors that his country considers a priority and recalled similar agreements between the OAS and such educational centers in Spain. "In the past we have signed an agreement with the University of Salamanca, and soon we will do the same with the University of Cantabria," recalled Spanish diplomat.

The signing ceremony was attended by the Permanent Representatives of Canada to the OAS, Allan Culham; of Colombia, Andrés González; and Mexico, Emilio Rabasa; the Chief of Staff of the OAS Secretary General, Hugo de Zela; and the Director of the OAS Department of Human Development, Education and Employment, Marie Levens, among others.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The B-Roll of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-187/14