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Universidad La Molina: Meet the Rector

universidad la molina peru by Molinero via Wikimedia Commons

Located in Lima, Peru, Universidad La Molina is ranked in QS Latin American University Rankings 2020 and is the sixth best university in Peru.

To learn more about Universidad La Molina and what it offers international students, we spoke to its rector, Dr. Enrique Flores Mariazza.

Could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you became the rector of Universidad La Molina?

I am an animal scientist by training. I have been an academic and researcher since the beginning of my career. I went to the US and got my masters from Utah State University and then my PhD at the University of California Davis. When I came back to Lima, I started working at Universidad La Molina, first as a researcher and then as director of one of the grad schools. After that I worked in the field for about 10 years, as a research director in a livestock research centre up in the mountains. And then when I came back to the university, the rules for choosing the rector changed and an open election process was introduced, allowing everybody to go and vote. So, I decided that it was time to become a candidate and serve my university.

Can you tell us about the mission and pillars of the university?

Our vision is to be a leading institution and our mission is to generate knowledge and technology for farmers, producers and diverse stakeholders in order to improve food security, which is one of the main goals of the university.

We were the first agricultural university in Peru, founded in 1912. In the 1980’s other universities started offering courses in this area, and today, over 10 offer this type of program. However, we are the only highly specialized university in agriculture. We also have the mission of training faculty members of other universities to improve their academic level and to grow the number of agricultural researchers in Peru.

How important are international students at the university?

Ever since the beginning of my term as rector, four years ago, internationalization has been one of our main objectives.

Interacting with international students is very important, as well as our students visiting other universities, so they can get a broad view of the world’s economics, academia, research and general human aspects. We started a program that funds the students in the upper two percent to be sent to the best 200 universities all over the world. We learned international institutions really value your university’s accreditations, so we realized that accreditation and internalization are processes that must go together.

We also have a program to help send researchers to international labs and push our strongest faculty members to study abroad. There is no other way to go but international.

Is the university thinking about offering more courses in English so international students can also come study?

Being a world ranked university and well known, there is a lot of interest from international students.

One restriction we had was that many universities abroad required us to have international accreditation if the students wanted to come for a semester of more. Because of that we created a summer camp program. We put together a group with our best students and faculty and put them in touch with partner universities. At the same time, international universities can do the same and come to Peru and stay for about 15 days, learning about Peruvian culture, learn some Spanish and get more information about how our agricultural system works. They also visit other parts of Peru to do research and design projects with local students and researchers.

How are you promoting the university’s brand to international audiences?

Besides the Summer Camp, our second strategy is to write research proposals that will require one or more international universities. Peru is filled with diverse species and crops that are well known all over the world and attract researchers from abroad, so we try to include that in our proposals to invite people from abroad to conduct research in our country. And the third strategy is a program to invite faculty members from abroad to become professors or research associates at Universidad La Molina. We have also been working in offering more classes in English so that foreign students can also come to study.

What is your message for international students and how can they get more information?  

I believe that big problems are also big opportunities to improve. Coronavirus has given us the opportunity to accelerate the virtualization process and interact remotely. I'm sure it will be an opportunity for us to interact more intensively than in the past and to make the most of the technologies we have. It is also an opportunity to show more solidarity and to be more sensitive to the problems that affect the world. We should look not just at our own country, but the whole world.

If you are interested in the university, we have an international office that will be able to help with all the information you need.

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Written by Niamh Ollerton
Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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