The historic campus of the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) served as a beautiful backdrop for the fourth Global Dominican Academic Exchange program, Exploring Our History and Moving Forward, from September 22-27, 2014. The UPenn Dominican student group, Grupo Quisqueyano, served as host to the eight Dominican college students from a variety of universities and study areas, and introduced them to the life of an Ivy League student at the University of Pennsylvania.
The week-long agenda was action-packed, beginning with a reception and pizza party at La Casa Latina and finishing off with a day-long tour of historic sites of downtown Philadelphia. During the day students had the opportunity to attend classes with their hosts and other student volunteers, selecting the courses based on their majors and personal interests. At night, the Grupo Quisqueyano planned a series of educational and informative activities to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month and bring together various student groups on campus.
On Wednesday, September 24, William Ramos, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the United States Department of Commerce, delivered an inspiring address to a packed house of attendees on labor issues amongst Latinos in the United States. He highlighted the size, scope and achievements of Latinos in the business sector, as well as their contributions to entrepreneurship and the small business sector during the economic recovery.
The following evening, Thursday, September 25, saw another full house of students attending the panel discussion: The Impact of Dominican Professional in the Delaware Valley. During the event, five prominent Dominican businesspeople and politicans shared tips for success and how to access graduate education and networking opportunities in the United States. Panelists included: Varsovia Fernandez, President & CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Juan Diaz Quinones, Director of the Division of Gynecology at Temple University School of Medicine; Johann R. Cornielle, Esq., Foreign Legal Consultant for Dominican Legal Matters; and Julio A. Guridv, Council President of the City of Allentown.
Social activities such as receptions and game nights punctuated the educational content of the exchange, and provided great informal opportunities to share ideas, concepts and traditions. The Global Dominican Academic Exchange would like to thank all of Grupo Quisqueyano, and especially GQ President José Molina and Vice President Javellys Polanco, along with La Casa Latina at UPenn, for their hard work and dedication to make this exchange a success.
GDAE is a program that organizes a series of topic-specific events of short (maximum one week) duration in collaboration with the Dominican student organizations at a variety of United States universities throughout the year. The InteRDom staff works closely with student representatives to plan the activities, and then to recruit and bring students from Dominican universities to participate. Hosting events with different thematic concentrations ensures that diverse groups of Dominican students have the opportunity to participate.
The Global Dominican Academic Exchange program, a project of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and its sister organization in the Dominican Republic, Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), an extension of their internship, research and study program, InteRDom, aims to introduce Dominican students to the American style of liberal arts education and encourage dialogue between Dominican students and their Dominican-American counterparts attending these institutions, thereby encouraging and inspiring partnership and entrepreneurship initiatives which will foster innovation and stimulate Dominican economic development and international understanding.