According to EFE, the association of Colombian municipalities Asocentro, integrated by eleven towns in Sabana Centro province near Bogotá, has signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with local cultural organizations in Shanghai.
Eight of the eleven mayors of Asocentro ended a visit to China in Shanghai, with an agreement to explore ways of collaboration with the city’s Shangda University, one of the biggest in the country.
China’s Cultural Media Group Limited (CCMG) plans in the next few years to convert one of the campuses of Shangda into a mini “Chinese Hollywood” for the local movie industry.
The CCMG, which relies on the Ministry of Culture, is a key funder of cultural projects in China.
“The signed memorandum will allow exploring the possibility of cooperation (with these Chinese organizations) on matters having vital significance for urban development, such as the environment, mobility, waste, very important issues for the mayors,” the Colombian Consul general to Shanghai, Ricardo Galindo, told EFE.
Under the framework agreement reached with Shangda, both parties pledge to identify possible fields of cooperation.
The Colombian mayors are considering involving the University of La Sabana in the initiative.
COMMENT: Colombia is most interested in Shangda’s experience as a study center advising Shanghai authorities on issues such as environmental sustainability, transportation, waste management and urbanization.
For its part, Shangda aspires to attract Colombian professors to teach Spanish in Shanghai and to widen its education offer.
The University could also serve to help Chinese professors improve the education they received in Bogotá under the official program “Spanish in Colombia."
”Shangda University intends to extend its Masters degree in Business Administration in the future to Colombia, Galindo added.
The Colombian mayors have said they will look into possible sites for the construction of the hypothetical first Shangda training center in Latin America.
“They have a growing interest in Spanish studies,” and a student and teacher exchange program may be promoted between Shangda and the universities near Asocentro, especially La Sabana, Galindo said.
An estimated 25% of Colombia’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) originates in the eleven municipalities of Asocentro, which are Cajica, Cota, Chia, Cogua, Nemocon, Tabio, Tenjo, Zipaquira, Gachancipa, Sopa and Tocancipa, and whose representatives have been traveling these days to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
Their objective has primarily been to establish contacts and study the experiences of these cities on urban planning, economic development and tourism promotion.