New Jersey City University — led by the school’s Guarini Institute for International Education and Economic Mobility — last week signed a first-of-its-kind Memorandum of Understanding with GLACO, an alliance made up of 17 Latin American consulates that aim to collaborate when offering consular services as well as migratory, educational and health issues.
NJCU, the most diverse university in the state, becomes the first higher educational institution in New Jersey to enter into a formal collaboration agreement to partner with GLACO, an organization that aims to contributes toward the recognition of the Latino community in New Jersey, establishing dialogues with local institutions and government agencies.
NJCU officials said the purpose of the MOU is to explore ways for NJCU to collaborate with the consulates, and thus strengthen both institutions’ commitment to serving Hispanic communities in New Jersey.
A key objective of the MOU will be to initiate higher education programs and services designed and promoted that will be tailored to the Latin American and Latino community in New Jersey to advance their educational attainment and career development. Furthermore, the MOU will establish partnerships between Latin America higher education institutions and NJCU faculty and staff to promote international education programs. NJCU and GLACO will also partner to jointly celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and Latin American holidays through organized events and programs.
The Guarini Institute is the facilitator for this agreement, as part of its mission of economic mobility for individuals and families.
NJCU interim President Andrés Acebo was thrilled to make the announcement.
“With the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding, our university strengthens its commitment to serving the most socioeconomically diverse student population in the state,” he said. “NJCU has played a critical role in our community for generations, and today’s MOU is yet another investment in those who depend on this institution.
“As an anchor institution for Hudson County and the region, our mission-driven work goes far beyond the classroom and is essential to the Jersey City and Hudson County communities, and we will continue focusing on being mission-driven to bettering the lives of and providing educational access to our underserved communities. So many members of our community are from nations within the GLACO footprint, and I am excited about the outcomes this MOU will bolster.”
Adrián Franco, the executive director of the Guarini Institute, said the agreement will have real impact.
“This Memorandum of Understanding takes a step further in the rich relationship between NJCU and Latin America and the Latino community in New Jersey,” he said. “It provides our university with a framework to better coordinate initiatives with 17 countries to advance the educational priorities and economic mobility of the Latin American and Latino families we serve. The agreement represents a clear continuation of the successful projects that the Guarini Institute has facilitated on behalf of NJCU with international partners.”
As president of GLACO, Consul General Ariel Valle said he understands that Latin American communities settled in the state of New Jersey share a common past and history, from which an active relationship and solidarity is born. Individuals from the countries represented by GLACO offer contributions to society ranging from art and culture to the economy and public services.
“By signing this Memorandum of Understanding, we are taking concrete action on our commitment to address the challenges that communities of Latin American countries face in a similar way, which, because of their complexity, demand immediate attention and encourage the development of shared strategies for the achievement of common solutions within the framework of respect for human rights and international cooperation, based on dialogue, mutual understanding, shared responsibility and reciprocity,” she said.
NJCU is the oldest minority and Hispanic-serving public university in the state, serving thousands of first-generation students. It has an undergraduate population that is 45% Latinx and 54% first-generation. The university’s demographics mirror those of Hudson County, which is home to 293,000 Hispanics — 42.5% of the county’s population.