MCFT Faculty Visit Colombia
April 23, 2012
By Dr. Pilar Hernandez-Wolfe, MCFT Program Director
Dr. McDowell and I traveled to Cali and Bogotá, Colombia, to initiate and develop international collaborations that will expand the recently established International Family Therapy track in our program. The Javeriana University in Cali offers a family therapy master’s program similar to ours. This will allow us to collaboratively teach online courses and develop a student exchange program in which students can take family therapy courses that may count towards their degree at Lewis & Clark College. In addition, we began discussions related to research collaborations with faculty who work directly with Indigenous groups and Afro-Colombians. Cali is located in Colombia’s southwestern region, a region roughly 995 meters above sea level. It has a diverse landscape of coast, foothills and it contains the Andean cordillera, an area which is rich in archaeological artifacts. The city has the second highest population of people of African descent in Latin America. The people are warm, welcoming, laid back and love dancing the salsa. Thus, the cultural immersion experience promises to be very fulfilling.
The National University in Bogotá is another institution where we plan to develop collaborative relationships involving research and training with the political science department and with the center for psychological services. Family therapy is a recognized specialty in clinical work, an area where students and faculty have the opportunity to learn alongside the local faculty and practitioners. Working towards creating an understanding of how family and couple therapy is done there will help our students and faculty address family issues from a global perspective. Nestled high in the Andes at 2620 meters, Bogotá is a large city, a city of contrasts, High-rise buildings standing next to colonial churches, universities, theaters and shantytowns. A city where there is great material wealth and material wellbeing, which coexists with areas of abject poverty. Bogotá will offer us another opportunity to address the issues of social justice while embedded within these contrasts.