As an expression of its commitment to global engagement in the Jesuit educational tradition, Seattle University formed a successful partnership with the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua. This developed into Seattle University's Nicaragua Initiative, the first building block that would become the greater Central America Initiative.
Formally begun in 2014 with a signed memorandum of understanding, this partnership is built upon many years of collaborative activities impacting students, faculty, staff, and administrative leaders. An initial series of student service experiences in the late 1990’s developed into annual SU faculty/staff immersions starting in 2001, and these engagements between SU and UCA led to multiple joint initiatives culminating with the hosting of an UCA delegation on the SU campus in 2013. Mutual campus visits since then by the SU and UCA presidents—Fr. Steve Sundborg and Fr. Chepe Idiaquez—led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding. The agreement between SU and UCA provides the foundation, and this strategic framework offers the broad outlines of the partnership for an initial three-year period from 2014-2017. There are three main areas of engagement: (1) Student Engagement, (2) Faculty Engagement, and (3) Institutional Engagement.
Since the success of the relationship with Nicaragua, Seattle University has worked to expand its outreach to the rest of the region. The Central America Initiative has since expanded to include outreach, programs, and research throughout Central America, including Nicaragua, Belize, and other countries.