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Cablegate: Secretary Spellings and Chilean Education Minister Look To

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #1392/01 2362006
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 242006Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2039
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF EDUCATION WASHDC
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 1798
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 3783
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 0479
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ AUG LIMA 5216
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1746

UNCLAS SANTIAGO 001392

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR ECA DAS THOMAS FARRELL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPAO SCUL SOCI CI
SUBJECT: SECRETARY SPELLINGS AND CHILEAN EDUCATION MINISTER LOOK TO
INCREASE EXCHANGES AND PARTNERSHIPS

REF: SANTIAGO 1383

1. SUMMARY: Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings
and State Department DAS for Academic Programs Thomas Farrell
discussed the new U.S.-Chile Equal Opportunities Scholarship Program
with Education Minister Yasna Provoste, encouraging the GOC to
widely publicize it to talented Chilean candidates for graduate
study. Secretary Spellings also urged Chileans to think broadly
about diverse offerings at a wide range of U.S. institutions.
Provoste emphasized the importance of this program to Chile. It
complements the Bachelet administration's objective of making
education accessible to all strata of Chilean society. University
of Chile President Victor Perez said Chile would welcome U.S.
experts in education to visit Chile to help with pedagogical
instruction and reform the country's educational system. Provoste
supported this suggestion, and hopes to expand the current
scholarship program. Secretary Spellings welcomed the new
partnership and urged the quick implementation of the agreement.
End Summary.

2. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State for Academic Programs Thomas Farrell and a

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delegation of eight U.S. university presidents and chancellors met
with Minister of Education Yasna Provoste on August 20. They
discussed the broad higher education agenda and reviewed the Equal
Opportunities Scholarship Program, including future plans. Minister
Provoste was accompanied by Education Ministry International Affairs
Chief Rodrigo Valenzuela, Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry's
Office of North American Affairs Mauricio Ugalde, Education Ministry
Head of Curriculum and Evaluations Pedro Montt, Education Ministry
Director of the English Opens Doors Program Rodrigo Fabrega, Open
Doors International Relations Coordinator Carmen Oria, Education
Ministry Director of Higher Education Julio Castro, and Victor
Perez, the Pesident of the University of Chile and Vice President
of the Council of University Rectors (comprised of 25 traditional
universities).

3. Minister Provoste expressed her sincere appreciation for the new
bilateral scholarship program, which will enable up to 100 Chileans
per year to pursue advanced graduate studies at universities in the
United States. She welcomed the English-training component, which
will make it possible to remove language as a barrier to
highly-talented Chilean candidates wishing to study in the United
States. Provoste emphasized that equal opportunity and access to
education are top priorities of the Bachelet administration, and
this joint program fits in well with the GOC agenda.

4. Secretary Spellings noted that Chile and the United States have
much in common, including a shared goal of closing the achievement
gap ("no child left behind"), which is vital to the vibrancy of our
countries and knowledge-based economies. The USG and U.S.
universities are eager to work with Chile to receive its very best
students and to encourage U.S. students to study in Chile. The
Secretary highlighted the rich diversity of U.S. higher education.

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She urged the GOC to widely publicize the opportunities offered in
this scholarship program and to encourage Chileans to think broadly
about the wide range of U.S. institutions and their individual
specialties.

5. University of Chile President Victor Perez emphasized that the
two countries should focus not only on Ph.Ds in science and
technology, but also include scholarships in the humanities and
education. Developing countries such as Chile need a critical mass
of educators who can improve the system. Perez noted that German
teachers came to Chile in the late 1800s and overhauled Chile's
educational system. He suggested something similar as a "bridge" in
the short-term, between now and when the first Chilean Ph.D students
return to Chile after their years in the United States. The United
States could instead send its own recent Ph.Ds in education to train
Chilean educators in instructional methodology, evaluation,
curriculum reform, and other pedagogical areas.

6. DAS Farrell agreed on the importance of the humanities and
social sciences, which promote respect for the rule of law in a
democratic society. Secretary Spellings seconded the point on the
need to expand cooperation beyond science and technology. She
indicated the USG would focus on quickly establishing the current
agreement, building the numbers of students and adding capacity.
The Secretary encouraged Minister Provoste to visit U.S.
institutions and Washington to spread the good news about the
program.

7. University of California, Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang

noted there is already considerable cooperation between U.S. and
Chilean universities as, for example, in the construction of what is
expected to be the world's largest telescope in Chile. He
emphasized that trips of this kind help solidify ties between
learning institutions. Yang praised the University of Chile for its
visible and active role in the Pacific Rim Association of 33
universities, which includes UC Santa Barbara and 10 other West
Coast universities.

8. In a private meeting with Secretary Spellings, Minister Provoste
urged that a similar scholarship program be developed for talented
Chilean students attending a network of more than 100 technical and
vocation institutions. While expressing interest in the idea,
Secretary Spellings emphasized the need to get the first phase of

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the new program up and running.

9. Department of Education and ECA cleared this message.

YAMAUCHI

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