A certificate of participation was issued to all Dominican Students who attended the GFDD/FUNGLODE’s Global Dominican Exchange Program at Yale University

December 10, 2013

The first college students from the Dominican Republic who participated in the Global Dominican Academic Exchange Program (GDAE) received a certificate of participation after their extraordinary experience at Yale University, which took place from Nov. 11 to 16, 2013.

Valuing their participation in the first edition of the Global Dominican Academic Exchange Program (GDAE), the 10 college students were honored by Dr. Leonel Fernández, former President of
the Dominican Republic, Dr. Ligia Amado Melo, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, and Ms. Natasha Despotovic, Executive Director of GFDD and GDAE. The certificates of participation were presented on December 6, 2013, at FUNGLODE headquarters in Santo Domingo.

The students had a private meeting with Dr. Leonel Fernández, Dr. Ligia A. Melo, Ms. Natasha Despotovic, Ms. Yamile Eusebio (Director of the GFDD Office in NY), Ms. Semiramis de Miranda (Director of the GFDD Projects and ICT), Ms. Reyna Rodríguez (GFDD’s InteRDom Program), and Ms. Loriel Sánchez (GFDD’s InteRDom program).

They said
that they were amazed at how much they had learned, they were willing to continue improving their professional skills, and wanted to share their experiences with their Dominican professors and friends. Dr. Fernández was very interested in their stories and was very pleased by the success of the first edition of this new program. He pointed out that this experience is a first step toward their professional achievements and to become part of a global professional network. He added that giving
this opportunity to Dominican students who are the future of the country and the new generation of Dominican students, will make the difference and add value to this global environment.

Their Experiences Tell Us Everything!
Pamela Polanco – “This experience helped me not just academically and culturally but personally as well. It gave me an opportunity to see what I could achieve
as a Dominican student, how far I can go and that the effort I’m making is worthwhile,” said Law student Pamela Polanco from Santiago, who believes this extraordinary program can and will help Dominicans achieve their goals of becoming “self-sufficient, motivated and determined entrepreneurs who will seek the welfare of their country as well as their own.”

Carmen de Pool – Carmen De Pool agreed
that the experience at Yale changed her focus, if not her life: “As a future Economist in search of social justice, this experience strengthened my knowledge and skills for dealing with people. It inspired me to help close the social gap in the DR by providing a comprehensive education to everyone. It also confirmed my beliefs that if you want change you have to do something different to achieve it or it will never happen.”

– “We had the opportunity of meeting with Dominican Pulitzer Prize-winning Dominican author Junot Díaz. As a fan of his books, it was a great experience to hear him talk about his work as a writer.”  “The best part of this whole experience was getting to know the members of the Dominican Student Association; it is incredible how much we bonded in such a short period of time, and they did a great job making us feel
welcomed,” said Diana Rodríguez. “They are really dedicated, creative and gracious people that were generous enough to share their space and time and serve as our hosts. I am glad we have such a good Dominican representation at Yale.”

Luis M. Martínez – “I attended classes that were completely different from the classes I take at my university or at any other university in the Dominican Republic,
including Religion in America, the Physiology of Law, Astronomy and Creative Writing,” said Luis Manuel Martínez, who hopes to pursue an MBA. “This type of variety broadens our views and helps us acquire the tools we need to succeed in today’s globalized world.”

Zoila Cano – Something else struck Zoila Cano about the classes and Yale professors: “I loved participating in the classes and,
in such an open minded world, learning about the topics addressed in them. Many of the teachers showed their true personalities in the classroom in the way they spoke and even in the way they dressed. I was so surprise at the freedom and liberty everybody has – even the students.”

Karem González – “One of the things I most enjoyed during this activity was the panel ‘Latinos in Higher Education’.
These women responded to those questions about the migration of professionals due to the lack of opportunities at home in a way that overwhelmed me and served me as an inspiration to overcome my fears and to clear my thoughts so that I should not leave my country to prosper.” While appreciating the differences observed by his colleague Gemilin, Karem saw the similarities rather than the differences.

Gemelin Castillo – Gemelin
Castillo from UASD, praised the entire exchange program and all its components. “Academic exchange programs are of utmost importance because they help expand our cultural knowledge as academics. Being in a different country with different customs and traditions enriches and expands one’s horizons. This opportunity convinced each of us that it is possible to achieve what we need if we try hard, judging by the examples of the students we met at Yale.”

Teresa Domínguez – A Sociology student at the UASD, Teresa Domínguez, agreed that this experience was life-changing and that the classes and the professors’ attitudes and approaches will always stand out for her. “I must say that the classes were very interesting. What I liked the most was the sociological approach that teachers give them, even in classes that were not part of the sociology major. One of my own goals is to
promote sociology in the DR and get more young people interested in this career, with the goal of having more professionals interested in providing answers to the problems in our society.”

Freddy Cabrera – “Coming from a working class household and studying in the UASD, I have always longed to see my country break free from the grasp of poverty and underdevelopment,” said Freddy Cabrera. “This
desire has made me strive to become well-educated to be able to contribute to the progress of my nation.”

The students had interacted with their Dominican or Dominican-American counterparts, among others, for five days of classes, sharing activities and everything that goes along with the life of a college student in the United States, which is more than meets the eye. It proved to be the experience of a lifetime for the student visitors to Yale University,
located in New Haven, Connecticut.

Indeed, variety and diversity were a trademark of the participating Dominican students who came from different economic backgrounds and a wide range of academic majors, including economics, psychology, law, medicine, marketing and chemistry. They came from public and private universities such as the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), the Ibero-American University
(UNIBE) and the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC).

GDAE is ready for its second edition next year, in 2014, with the collaboration from international universities, organizations, and people who are engaged in creating a better education, promoting GDAE groundbreaking events, and forging links with the most promising students are the key for the continued success of this program.

About Global Dominican Academic
Exchange Program

It is a project of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and its sister organization in the Dominican Republic, Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE) and is also supported by the Dominican Ministry of Higher Education in Science and Technology. Through their
program, InteRDom Internships in the Dominican Republic, it aims to introducing Dominican students to the American style of liberal arts education and encouraging dialogue between Dominican students and their Dominican-American counterparts attending these institutions, thereby encouraging and inspiring partnership and entrepreneurship initiatives which will foster innovation and stimulate Dominican
economic development and international understanding.