Government officials and academics from Colombia are meeting next week at the U.S. State Department headquarters to explore ways the two countries can expand cooperation on science and technology. The two-day meeting begins on September 11 and comes almost a year after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez signed an agreement in Bogota to work together on building knowledge-based economies.
Finding new means to collaborate and spur innovation will be key aims of the meeting, officials say. There are plans to promote collaborative research and exchanges of scientists and information, and to support programs to increase the capacity of universities, research centers and national science systems.
The two countries are aiming to share best practices and new ideas in areas such as biodiversity, forestry, water, energy and health, among others. Other goals of the agreement are to expand economic opportunity, develop clean sources of energy and protect the environment, and promote democracy and human rights.
On September 12, there will be a panel discussion, with participants including Paula Marcela Arias, Director of Colciencias, Colombia; Alexander Gómez, Vice Chancellor on Research, National University of Colombia; and Jennifer Haskell, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation, U.S. State Department.
The United States is Colombia’s biggest business partner and two countries have several agreements to boost trade between them. Total Colombian exports to the United States were $23.0 billion in 2011, up 48% from the previous year, while U.S. exports to Colombia totaled US $14.3 billion in 2011. From January through November 2012, exports to Colombia exceeded 2011 levels, reaching $15 billion.