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The Alfa PUENTES Project is an international cooperation initiative created to foster the development of the Latin American Higher Education Area. Led by European and Latin American university associations, it aims to improve modernisation mechanisms, reform and harmonisation of Latin American education systems, and promote large-scale collaboration between European and Latin American universities. Co-financed by the European Commission Alfa programme, the project covered a three-year period (2011-2014) and was coordinated by the European University Association (EUA) and a bi-regional management team.

The project also tried to make visible and strengthen the existing sub-regional convergence processes in Latin America, articulated by the Andean Community, the Mercosur region and Central America/Mexico. Mutual learning activities between Latin America and European associations and their members targeted quality assurance reform (Andean Community), enhancing recognition of degrees, building qualifications frameworks (Central America) and increasing academic mobility (Mercosur) - themes that are inherently interlinked.

The project aimed to enhance wider regional Latin American convergence, utilising the sub-regional experience as a building block. In parallel, it aimed to generate stronger working relationships between European and Latin American associations.

The survey for Latin American university associations was carried out between October 2012 and August 2013 within the Alfa PUENTES project with the following objectives:

• to complement the institutional TRESAL survey (Transformations and reforms in Latin American higher education)1 of the Alfa PUENTES project by exploring perceptions about higher education system development in Latin America, specifically from the perspective of university associations;

• to obtain information about the role of university associations from the Alfa Puentes project in their national and regional context, and in particular on their work areas and priorities;

• to present the partners of the Alfa PUENTES project - their structures, tasks, similarities and differences - and promote future cooperation between them and also with similar organisations in Europe.

This publication consists of two parts:

• an analysis of the replies from Latin American associations on trends in higher education in their education systems.

• information sheets on the associations.

ALFA PUENTES University associations in Latin America - A snapshot

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