New president of Uruguay's top university wants to expand int'l ties

Montevideo, Oct 18 (EFE).- The new president of Uruguay's largest institution of higher education, Universidad de la Republica (Udelar), said Thursday that he will make it a priority to deepen the school's international connections.

"International ties are important for a university in a small country, particularly with its peers, the other public institutions in the region," Rodrigo Arim told EFE.

The economist, who got a majority of the votes from students, faculty and alumni in the Oct. 10 for university president, said that Udelar needs mechanisms "to sustain the presence of international students in the country" and to promote study abroad by Uruguayan students.

Arim, 46, said that while Udelar faces challenges, the 169-year-old institution has grown and is well-positioned among universities in the region.

"It is a university that has grown, developed and strengthen its musculature in terms of research," he said.

The president said that Udelar is distinguished from most other research universities by its legal mandate to democratize higher education in Uruguay.

"In other countries, specialized universities that focus on research and knowledge-creation do not have the obligation or legal duty to generalize tertiary education," Arim said. "Here, we have to do everything at once."