IMPESA Board Member Arturo Condo featured interview in La Republica on becoming Rector of EARTH University in Costa Rica.

EARTH University was established by Costa Rican law in 1986 as a private, non-profit, international University with the support of the Costa Rican Government, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Its innovative educational approach prepares young people from Latin America, the Caribbean and other regions, including Africa and Asia, to contribute to the sustainable development of their countries and construct a prosperous and just society. Some 400 students from 33 different countries are currently enrolled. Approximately 39 percent of the student body are female, and 76 percent are from rural communities. Each enrolling class comprises about 100 students chosen from about 1,300 applicants. Most students receive scholarships to cover all or part of the $15,000 tuition.

As a company, IMPESA supports and values initiatives in leadership, education, innovation and sustainability.

Special interview Arturo Condo, new rector of Earth University “US financial support will continue despite Trump election” While most of Earth’s funding comes from the United States, the university will “knock the door” on other countries in the region, said Condolee, who will take over the rectory in January. 

Arturo Condo becomes the second rector in the history of the Earth university.
THE REPUBLIC talked to him about how he will take on this role and the challenges he will face in coming to terms with a presidency of Donald Trump. 

By Karla Barquero kbarquero@larepublica.net | December 14, 2016

 Photo: Gerson Vargas / The Republic

While most of Earth’s funding comes from the United States, the university will “knock the door” on other countries in the region, said Condolee, who will take over the rectory in January.

In addition, it will emphasize on the gender issue so that more women are inclined towards a profession in engineering and plans on the areas that it will remove from the hand of technology.

As it passed through Incae it attracted a renewed community of allies and donors, what can Earth expect when it takes over the rectory? 
I believe that financial support can be expanded, so far most of it comes from the United States and probably will continue to be; But the region has a role to play: we have African students and it is a continent with very important challenges and some business leaders and institutions may have an interest in investing in that future.

Much of the funding comes from the United States, would Donald Trump’s election “check” this? 
One of the campaign themes of President-elect Donald Trump was that America comes first. In that sense there will be a setback. However, it is not just the government, I think we will find open hearings in the civil party, non-profit foundations and organizations. Earth has to play a role not of asking for money, but of alliance with those institutions that seek to change the world and contribute. 

Following the election of Trump, among his intentions is to get the United States out of the Paris agreement, what role will Earth play in this since it participated in this process? 
If one of the greatest emitters of the world says that it is not interested in committing itself as a country, other great emitters, Rather than an effect dominated by a matter of negotiations, will not invest if others are not doing so. Earth must promote awareness that even if the United States decides not to fulfill the commitment it made, the best answer is not to break it. We have to defend it more in Latin America, which feels that it is not responsible for most of the emissions.  

What does the Earth need to update? 
There are topics that have evolved: Earth is born Latin American, is a program in Spanish, but today we have more than 40 nationalities on campus, mostly African. I do not want to change the language of the program, but the functional language of the world is English and we need it for the program to have a functional global communication capability. 

We could reach more people through virtual means, which of course do not replace the four year experience on campus; But would allow to bring some elements of knowledge and better technology to thousands of agricultural producers in Latin America and the world. Campuses have fiber optics with good bandwidth potential; I imagine the research platform that could be exploited and the connection that that could bring with our partners. 

In what areas of research do you see greater potential? 
Our students hold the title of agricultural engineers in their hands. But they have elements of community leadership development that makes them not only entrepreneurs or producers of better quality or more sustainable, can be innovated in all areas; The topic of agricultural technology has to go hand in hand with that of sustainability and social. 

What example could be mentioned about these innovations? 
We have a project that is starting in Liberia, which uses state-of-the-art technology to improve the production capacity of farmers in the area on their farms under a sustainable scheme. 

The world of technology and engineering is dominated by men, how to bring women closer?
The class that entered in 2016 for the first time had more women than men, this is meritorious, since it is indeed not a field associated with women because the rural areas tend to be more sexist. The potential there is huge, they are areas that concentrate poverty and it has the face of women, and in Latin America and Central America where there was a lot of migration, many remained as heads of household, so this is a necessity for their social development. I hope that this equity will be maintained and we must continue to make an effort to make that happen.
Original article on LaRepublica.net in Spanish.