Saturday, October 18, 2008

carmen pampa fund visit

This morning, before the sun even considered rising above the Altiplano, Sr. Jean, Hugh, and I bid farewell to the Carmen Pampa Fund contingent: Interim Executive Director, Sue Wheeler, Program Director, Joel Mugge, and board president (and one of the founders of the College) Ann Leahy.  The trio spent the past week with us at the College as part of the Joint Planning and Oversight Council.

The Council, which held its inaugural meeting last April, was developed to help strengthen the relationship between the College and the CPF.  The group, made up of members that represent the CPF, UAC-CP, Bolivian community, and Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, met for three days to discuss organizational goals that will bring both the College and CPF closer to realizing their shared, underlying mission:  to transform the lives of Bolivians through higher education.

Ann Leahy, Sue Wheeler, and Joel Mugge shared a special meal with memebers of the College's student body council

Apart from the administrative meetings (which help bridge the physical distance between St. Paul, Minnesota and Carmen Pampa, Bolivia), it's important for representatives of the Carmen Pampa Fund to visit the College so that they can meet the students who benefit from the generosity of CPF donors.  Sue, Joel, and Ann had several opportunities to meet with UAC-CP students: they had dinner with the student body government, they attended Danitza Ramos' thesis defense, and they participated in the Agronomy department's 15th anniversary celebration.  Each instance provided very powerful and emotional reminders of why both the College and the Carmen Pampa Fund are committed to improving the lives of young people in rural Bolivia.

Ann and Sue pose with the UAC-CP's newest graduate, Ing. Danitza Ramos, following her thesis defense

Ann noted that it was her 12th visit to the College in 15 years...but she doesn't expect that it will be her last.  The Joint Planning and Oversight Council plans to meet regularly every six months--which means Ann and the CPF crew will be back in April!  We're already looking forward to their visit.

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