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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Director of international education consortium resigns

Noelle R. Haro-Gomez/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Francisco Marmolejo

After more than a decade working to promote collaboration efforts throughout the western hemisphere, the executive director for the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration, which has its headquarters at the UA, has decided to resign.

Francisco Marmolejo came to the university in July 1995, initially to participate in a 6-month project to find a better way to connect with higher education institutions in Mexico. However, 17 years later, the project expanded to the entire western hemisphere, becoming the consortium.

The project started as a network of two universities and that has since expanded to include 165 higher education institutions. When it first began, it brought together universities from Mexico and the U.S., but has since included universities from Canada, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Chile, to name a few.

“Our organization has become probably the most important and the most credible to help institutions to identify partners,” Marmolejo said. “That is translated into better opportunities for our students to have an international experience.”

Along with founding the program and serving as the executive director, Marmolejo has served as assistant vice president for western hemispheric programs since 2007. In this position, he was primarily responsible for collaboration efforts throughout the Americas, according to Mike Proctor, a UA employee and vice president for global initiatives.

Marmolejo recently accepted a leadership position at the World Bank Institute, an organization that provides financial support to developing countries.

With the institute Marmolejo will serve as a resource for different regions and regional directors on projects related to higher education that require support from the bank.

“The fact that they’re offering me to be in charge of the higher education sector of the bank is an honor for me,” Marmolejo said. “At the same time, it’s a great opportunity to contribute to the discussions on how to improve higher education in the world.”

Although some staff members said they are disappointed to see him go, they are not surprised he was offered the position.

“He is extremely well-respected globally and among a number of economic and higher education organizations out there,” Proctor said. “While I was certainly surprised to hear he took that job, I wasn’t surprised to know that someone wanted him really bad.”

Marmolejo will leave for Washington DC at the end of the month and the consortium’s Associate Director Sean Manley-Casimir will serve as interim director while administrators search for a permanent replacement.

Marmolejo will be given a leave of absence from his UA position in case he decides to return, Proctor added.

Although Marmolejo is leaving the institution, some members involved said they are confident in the future of CONAHEC.

“I don’t think that this event is necessarily going to end the organization,” Manley-Casimir said. “I think that the organization should be fine, and I think the future is still quite bright for us.”

Marmolejo said he is hopeful that the future director will continue to advance the organization.

“My hope is that the board of CONAHEC will make a wise decision in identifying an individual who will make CONAHEC greater and who can bring more innovative perspective.”

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