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OAS Scholarships: Over Half a Century of Human Development and Regional Solidarity

  September 23, 2015

24-year old Bolivian student Luis Vaca is working on his second semester of a Master´s Degree program in Advanced Technology at the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City. But this young civil engineer
doesn´t want to stop here, and plans to continue his education with a doctorate, and then to return to Bolivia to apply what he has learned. "When I return to my country, I will be able to contribute using what
I´ve learned and I´ll be able to carry out scientific research, which is vital to raising the academic level of the country´s universities, given that in Bolivia there are no doctoral programs in Exact Sciences and Technology,” he says.

Becas de la OEA: Más de medio siglo de desarrollo humano y solidaridad regional

The OAS Scholarship Program

Since its inception, the OAS scholarship program has financed the undergraduate, Master´s and doctoral studies of more than one hundred thousand citizens of the Americas.

The Organization has established partnerships with 116 universities and centers of higher education in the hemisphere.

  • For the OAS, increasing educational opportunities in the hemisphere is a priority, as a way to consolidate the progress made by the countries of the region.
  • The OAS scholarship program, begun in 1958, is based on a system of alliances between countries and academic institutions. There are currently alliances with 116 universities and higher education institutions.
  • The program ranges from social development studies and job creation to sustainable development and environmental studies, including economic diversification and integration, trade opening and access to markets, culture, scientific development and exchange and technology transfer, among other areas.
  • The OAS program also includes scholarships for undergraduate and graduate studies, for professional development, online courses at the Educational Portal of the Americas, and financial aid for studies in the United States.
  • Other programs include, for example, opportunities for study in Macedonia, and Master´s and doctoral studies at Vrije Universiteit in Brussels, Belgium.

The OAS scholarship program seeks to bring each person in the Americas closer to the possibility of exercising their right to a quality education, and as a result, to better living conditions. This is consistent with the commitment of the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, to work toward “More rights for more people.” In addition, Secretary General Almagro has highlighted the importance of the issue since he took office with a commitment to build a Pan-American Quality Education Network, which he called “an initiative that will allow us to go from achievements in access to education to achieving a greater concrete impact in the results at the university level.”

Luis Vaca is pursuing his Master´s degree thanks to the support of the CONACYT-OAS-AMEXID scholarship, which covers tuition costs, as well as relocation costs and a stipend during his studies. This program, from the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico, the Organization of American States, and the Mexican Agency of International Cooperation for Development, is focused on postgraduate studies in science and engineering in universities accredited by CONACYT in Mexico. One of every six scholarships it offers is earmarked for students from Central America and the Caribbean and designed to improved scientific and technological capabilities in the region and facilitate the mobility of students in the Americas. Since its creation in 2011, this program has benefited more than 600 students.

Another high level program associated with the OAS is offered by the Coimbra Group of Brazilian Universities, which is supported by the Division of Educational Issues of the Foreign Ministry of Brazil and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). Since its first edition in 2011, the OAS-GCUB Scholarship Program has delivered nearly one thousand scholarships for Master´s and doctoral studies in more than fifty participating universities. Scholarship recipients come from 28 countries of the Americas.

These scholarships support the training and development of high level human resources in latest generation research and the development of technologies adapted to the realities and needs of Latin America and the Caribbean. In its last two editions, the program also offered scholarships in public health, with a focus on health research, thanks to the cooperation agreement signed between the OAS and PAHO-WHO.

One of the recipients of the OAS-GCUB scholarships is Fabricio Richmond, from Costa Rica, who says “as an OAS-GCUB scholar I have developed academically and personally. I now see the problems facing my country on the path to sustainable development from a different perspective, and I will be able to promote the importance of education and research as a path to important changes in the region, in a multicultural world.”

More Education for More People

Since its creation in 1958 the OAS scholarship program has evolved to the point of offering, since 2010 its Partnerships Program for Education and Training (PAEC). It has evolved from a traditional system to a collaborative one between the hemispheric organization, the educational institutions and the students, which offers more opportunities to the citizens of the member states of the OAS to achieve their educational, professional and personal goals, that is, to facilitate the exercise of their right to a quality education. To date, more than one hundred thousand citizens of the Americas have benefited from one of its modalities.

Reference: E-299/15