STORY BY GRACE ROGERS
On Oct. 28, representatives from the University of Andes in Santiago, Chile visited Drake University to establish a partnership between the two colleges. As a part of the visit, the delegates spoke with classes at Drake.
“I listened to the dean of the school of journalism at the University of Andes in Santiago, and I think he had a lot of really good information,” said biology major Laura Wagener. “It was cool that he knew what we were talking about in class and related all of his information to what we were talking about.”
Dean Juan Brito’s lectures were meant to forge a partnership with Drake, largely by focusing on important global issues. Whether it is the “Engaged Citizen” Area of Inquiry requirement or the campus-wide engaged citizen topic, Drake’s curriculum is built to involve students in current affairs across the globe.
Gretchen Beckley, the director of International Programs and Services, applauded the diverse perspective this opportunity offered.
“Part of Drake’s mission is to prepare students for responsible global citizenship,” Beckley said. “In order to do that, we need to have as many students as possible -— ideally all students — exposed to different perspectives from other people around the world. Not every student studies abroad, and so for students who are not able to go abroad, this is an opportunity for them to get those perspectives without even leaving campus.”
One of Brito’s lectures focused on the constant struggle of freedom of speech.
“If you’re not respecting freedom of speech for a person, you’re not recognizing the entirety of the person as a human person,” Brito said. “You’re amputating some of his soul. If you want to talk to another person, you want to respect his or her nature, of course. Some of his nature is his ability to communicate and his ability to express his feelings or thoughts. If you don’t respect that, you can’t have a dialogue. You can’t have communication.”
Wagener recognized Brito’s intent.
“He definitely made freedom of speech important,” Wagener said. “I think he supports the freedom of speech anywhere.”
Beckley was excited by more than Brito’s lecture. His visit solidified a partnership between Drake and the University of Andes.
“We looked at a lot of different opportunities in Chile, and this particular university is new,” Beckley said. “They are very forward thinking. They are very creative about the kinds of interactions they can imagine having with Drake, and so I think it has a lot of promise.”
Brito too seems excited for this international opportunity.
“We love to exchange experiences, students, professors and research with other universities from everywhere,” Brito said. “Drake offers us a great opportunity to continue that.”
However, Drake isn’t the only place in Des Moines that Brito will tell tales of when he returns to Santiago.
“The campus is very beautiful and the university is quite big,” he said. “We also went to Zombie Burger. We had a lot of garlic, so I remembered that for the whole night. It’s been great.”