Building Bridges: Latin America

Dean Ferrillo during his recent trip to Venezuela.
Dean Ferrillo during his recent trip to Venezuela.

I spent several days last week on an informative trip to Venezuela to represent University of the Pacific and the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in meetings with some of our international colleagues. It was a brief visit to the country, but it offered a good opportunity to build bridges with leaders in higher education and dentistry.

After starting my trip in the bustling capital city of Caracas, I took a short flight the following morning to the city of Barcelona to meet with the Dental School Faculty Council at the Universidad Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho (UGMA). I had the pleasure to get a tour of the UGMA’s dental school facilities and patient clinic. While there I also discussed some ways our dental schools might work together under the partnership agreement between UGMA and University of the Pacific. The University has a long history of commitment to international education and cross-cultural understanding. Some of these partnerships and programs, such as the Inter-American Program, are highlighted on the School of International Studies web page.

When I returned to Caracas, a group of dental school deans from throughout the country gathered together for a meeting of the Venezuelan Association of Dental Schools and Faculties (AVEFO). I gave a presentation — “Challenges Facing Global Dental Education” — and learned more about some of the issues and opportunities faced by the dental schools in Venezuela. I also had the chance to give an update on behalf of the International Federation of Dental Educators and Associations and inform the group about resources available from IFDEA.

All in all, I found a great deal of common ground and commitment to training the next generation of dentists, and to sharing knowledge and resources across the globe. It will be exciting to see what results from these partnerships.

Dean Ferrillo meets students at the dental school in Venezuela.
Dean Ferrillo meets students at the dental school in Venezuela.