Paraguay USAID Official Visits Rutgers–Camden to Celebrate University’s Support

Evelyn Rodriguez-Perez, the country representative for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Paraguay, at left, and Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, a Rutgers Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor and director of the Community Leadership Center at Rutgers University–Camden, present Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis with an honorary key to a Paraguayan city.

April 27, 2022

By Sam Starnes

Evelyn Rodriguez-Perez, the country representative for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Paraguay, visited Rutgers University–Camden this week to meet with Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis and to speak to the campus community as a culmination of a three-year project that included establishing a center for ethics at Paraguay’s largest university.

Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, a Rutgers Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor and director of the Community Leadership Center at Rutgers–Camden, initiated the partnership with Universidad Nacional de Asunción (UNA) when she was a Fulbright Specialist in Paraguay. The overarching partnership established four goals: transforming the university in Paraguay into a 21st-century university; fostering research; training ambassadors in Paraguay; and building nongovernmental organizations that reach out to Paraguay’s vulnerable indigenous populations. A foundational development of the effort was the creation of the Higher Education Center for Ethics, Equity and Transparency (HECEET). The project was spearheaded by the Rutgers–Camden Community Leadership Center and funded by a $3 million grant from USAID.

Bonilla-Santiago and Rodriguez-Perez met with Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis on Tuesday, honoring him with a key to a city in Paraguay and other gifts and recognition. “This work that partnership has accomplished is transformative and will improve the lives of all Paraguayans and many beyond its borders,” Chancellor Tillis said. “That fact that this work has its genesis at Rutgers–Camden is exemplary of the significant role our university plays in the global community.”

Speaking from more than 30 years of experience working in development, Rodriguez-Perez, in her address in the Campus Center on Wednesday, discussed the investment that USAID has made in developing countries and the long-term benefits for America and the American people. In addition, her experience in global development work provided the opportunity for students to learn about exciting careers in foreign service.

Rodriguez-Perez’s address followed a visit of Rutgers–Camden faculty and staff to Paraguay earlier this month.

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