Spain Aids Research Link to America

DOMINGO DOCAMPO AMOEDO is not a Don Quixote living a dream. Nor is he a Spaniard aspiring to become a conqueror in the New World. But much like Christopher Columbus, he has an agenda in mind: to globalize the world through education.

"The consortium [the Ibero-American Science and Technology Education Consortium or ISTEC] is going to provide us with the possibility of giving our experience to other universities in Latin America who could benefit from it," says Dr. Docampo, department chairman of the Tecnologias de las Comunicaciones at the Universidad de Vigo (UVI).

Set in the hills outside of Vigo in the northwest Gacilian region of Spain, UVI enrolls 1,200 engineering graduate students and 25 post-graduates. Students use $1-million-worth of equipment, donated by the local government that helped establish this university two years ago.

"We have a lot of ideas on how to do things, but what we need in Latin America is people with motivation. We will become the providers of technology rather than the receivers," he adds.

Recent developments in modern technology have put Spain in a position of strength and power toward third-world nations.

"Through the consortium, we are contacting people in Latin America to share with them our experience in industry, in investigation - technical or scientific - but what complicates things [there] is the economic situation."

This past July, Docampo held a summer research program that featured a faculty exchange with the University of New Mexico. Four assistant professors and an associate established new instructional methods for laboratories to improve the quality of education and research. Khoros, a software program, was installed in engineering laboratories. "The advantage of Khoros is to provide educators and scientists with a mechanism to exchange ideas, data, and results," he says.

According to Docampo, "action more than words" is needed to set the pace for the future in education. "In Vigo, we are doing it!"

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