Seattle University has signed an agreement with the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), which formalizes a longstanding and growing partnership between the two Jesuit institutions.
SU President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., and his UCA counterpart José Alberto Idiáquez, S.J., signed the agreement in Managua, Nicaragua, on March 20. Before the signing, Father Sundborg delivered a lecture, "Two Universities; One Jesuit Mission," which you can read here.
Joining Sundborg on the visit to UCA were Victoria Jones, associate provost for Global Engagement (pictured far left); and (from far right to left) Serena Cosgrove, assistant professor of Matteo Ricci College; David Powers, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Joe Orlando, assistant vice president for Mission and Ministry.
"I was proud to be part of the delegation from Seattle U to the UCA in Managua and to deliver (the lecture)," said Sundborg. "After many years of developing our relationship with that Jesuit university, which is considered the best university in Nicaragua, I was proud to sign, together with Fr. Idiáquez, the formal agreement of our special partnership. We see this as the first of our 'Convergence Sites,' which Victoria Jones has been developing. The 'Nicaragua Initiative' is promising for student and faculty exchanges, for community-engaged learning and for common research.
SU's partnership with UCA began with the faculty and staff immersion trips that Orlando led to Managua for many years. The relationship has deepened in recent years with the development of mutually enriching student and faculty exchanges and other reciprocal scholarly initiatives. A key moment came last May when a delegation from UCA visited Seattle University to explore how Jesuit universities are especially called to confront poverty. That was followed by a program for UCA MBA students offered by Albers and Fr. Idiáquez's visit to campus in the fall. (His interview with Jones at the time can be found here.) This summer the UCA is offering programs for SU students including a Spanish-language minor and a core class on sustainability and poverty.
The agreement signed by the presidents reads in part: "…both universities believe that (this agreement) is of mutual benefit to promote direct contact and collaboration between students, teachers and people. This could include joint research activities, publications and library exchanges; programs of study and/or service; exchange of teachers and students for the study, teaching and research and the exchange of invitations to scholars to participate in conferences, seminars and speeches."