Two staff from VIVES University of Applied Sciences in Belgium visited Saint Mary’s University on Feb. 13-14, 2023, for a partnership meeting to strengthen the global engagements of the two universities.

Ms. Elly Verstraete, education coordinator, and Mr. Evert Cottyn, IT and Engineering coordinator of Vives University, met with the top administrators of SMU at the University Boardroom on Feb. 13, 2023, at 9 a.m. During the meeting, several possibilities for student and staff mobility were discussed, and opportunities for international internships and classroom-based activities that promote internationalization.

University President Dr. John Octavious S. Palina, in his message of commitment, stressed the significance of SMU’s partnership with Vives University in ensuring that its programs and service are on par with global standards. Dr. Moises Alexander T. Asuncion, VP for Academic Affairs, welcomed the visitors through a poignant description of SMU and Nueva Vizcaya, highlighting its naturally vibrant environment. Also present during the partnership meeting were VP for Administration Dr. John Tayaban, VP for Mission and Identity Rev. Fr. Philip A. Yu Jr., and undergraduate academic deans Dr. Henry Gamboa of STEH, Dr. Arlene Tabaquero of SHANS, Engr. Carina Malillin of SEAIT, and Mrs. Elnora Adalem of SHANS. Mrs. Leila Navarro, the chief accountant, represented Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Mrs. Venica Acosta. 

The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Clara Gonzales, head of the Promotions, External Relations, and Internationalization Office (PERIO).

For the concrete direction of future projects, the two foreign visitors toured the campus and visited various facilities and laboratories. They went to the Technology Transfer and Business Development Office, engineering and health care laboratories, and the university museum. They also did classroom visits and had a chance to engage with some Marian learners at the senior, junior, and grade school departments of SMU.

SMU and Vives University have an active partnership agreement signed in 2022. Several Marians are completers of the Global Sustainability Engagement course at Vives University, which offers academic credits. The two universities are also members of the Synergy Programme, a multi-stakeholder partnership that brings together some 30 partners from academia, local government, NGOs, cooperatives, and people organizations in the Philippines and West Flanders.

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