19 de Octubre de 2021
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La Educación
Número: (132-133) I,II
Año: 1999

Ramiro Jordán,
Executive Director of ISTEC.

Ramiro Jordán is Bolivian by birth. He graduated from the Universidad Nacional de la Plata in Argentina as an Electrical Engineer and later received his Doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Kansas State University. Since 1987 he has worked at the University of New Mexico — which has one of the most prestigious schools of engineering in the United States — and joined a select team of educators and researchers. He has focused his research activities on software engineering, digital processing of signals and images, communication networks, microprocessors and micro controllers. In 1990 he researched the future of science and technology in Latin America, and after meeting with representatives of several universities and private sector businesses, he created the Ibero-American Science and Technology in Education Consortium (known by its acronym, ISTEC), of which he is the Executive Director. ISTEC is a non-profit organization whose objective is to plan and implement programs and projects to promote the development of higher education, research and the transfer of technology in scientific and technological areas in the region. Ramiro Jordán has received various awards and distinctions, including the Order of Rio Bravo (Official) given by the Government of Brazil in 1998, and the International Prize of Excellence given by the University of New Mexico in 1999, both of which recognize his search for solutions to common development problems in the region.


Recently, different regional foras —such as the inter-American summits— have stressed that scientific and technological education is a key factor in the development of the region. Could you elaborate?

As the world has become information and technology dependent, many countries are in the process of adapting to make use of Information Technology (IT). For a nation to be competitive and to participate successfully in international markets, it is imperative to have at its disposal elements of this technology. Likewise, it has become evident that the use of IT is an effective indicator of the difference between developed and developing nations, with the degree of success being directly proportional to strategic investments in science, technology, and information systems.

This technological lag in many Latin American countries constitutes a substantial impediment to economic and social progress. The modernization of the Latin American requires a restructuring of academic disciplines in science and technology. The use of IT shortens time and distances, facilitating the exchange of products and services. It can be said that, with few exceptions, many countries in Latin America have not been able to adapt to the new technological paradigm, and are facing insurmountable difficulties keeping pace with the rest of the world. Despite the outstanding talent and serious desire for scientific and technological learning in young people, there are difficulties in developing technical skills in an environment that lacks appropriate resources and current information.

To perform actively and competitively in international markets, these countries must have access to state-of-the-art technologies, and they must also create and modify curricula in Engineering and the Sciences. In addition, they must develop new laboratories for Research and Development (R&D), promote joint projects in R&D, facilitate the exchange of personnel, and be able to rely on a telecommunication network that allows for real-time access to information. This will make available advanced research methods, facilitate technology transfer, and the enable the development of technical training programs. Experience has shown that education, as well as R&D, can be carried out most effectively when cooperation between parties maximizes the effect of scarce resources. Clearly, a concerted effort is needed in promoting and facilitating this cooperation so that Latin American countries can play an active role in the emerging international market place.

1. What is ISTEC’s role in this regard?
2. Who determines which activities are carried out?
3. Could you give us some additional information about each one? Let’s begin with the Library Linkages Initative (LibLink)
4. What is the Advanced Continuing Education (ACE) initiative?
5. What is the purpose of the Research and Development Laboratories (R&D) initiative?
6. How does the "Los Libertadores" initiative work?
7. How is ISTEC organized?
8. What are the procedures and costs involved for the high-level or university-level institutions that would like to join the Consortium?
9. How does ISTEC hope to make a difference?