Letters from HUAP

Dr. Fanor Mondragón Pérez

Emeritus Professor of Antioquia University, Medellin, Colombia. Member of the Colombian National Academy of Sciences, Appointed as a Hokkaido University Ambassador in April 2018

The Hokkaido University (HU) Ambassador and Partner Program is an excellent way to promote the university to the world and to create two-way communication with different universities, institutions, and regions. This kind of communication is especially beneficial for a country like Colombia, which has very little contact with its Asian counterparts.

For me, it has been a very good opportunity to collaborate with HU where I obtained my doctoral degree in 1984 with my thesis on the chemistry of coal conversion into liquids. Since my return to Colombia, with the help of my advisor the late Professor Koji Ouchi, I started a research laboratory working on renewable and non-renewable energy resources.

Through this, I have published more than 130 scientific papers, 8 patents and supervised 16 PhD theses.

Now through the Ambassador Program, my wish is to have more young people from Colombia who would like to carry out their Masters, PhD, or internships at HU.

At the same time, I also think it will be very interesting for Japanese scholars to come to Antioquia to participate in joint research projects and to learn about the local culture.

The Ambassador Program is a good way to make this happen and I am most happy to give back to HU, the university that means a lot to me. Although there are not many exchanges between our universities due to the distance, the two-way learning will be very important for both universities. The University of Antioquia is the second largest and most prestigious university in Colombia, so its promotion to the world will make a difference to our students.

Last year, we were visited by Professor Kiyoharu Tadanaga, a materials scientist from the Applied Chemistry Department who delivered some lectures to the graduate students in Chemical Sciences.

Together with Professor Tadanaga, we filed an application to the Learning Satellite Program of HU. The proposal was approved for 2018 and 2019.

Under this program, two lecturers and 5 graduate students from HU visited the University of Antioquia in November 2018 to deliver lectures and to carry out a mini symposium which was attended by students from HU and University of Antioquia.

Since then, we had two missions from HU to University of Antioquia as part of the Learning Satellite Program between both universities with the collaboration of Professor Kiyoharu Tadanaga, Professor Carolina Rosero, and Professor Toshihiro Shimada. We also have had some Colombian students doing research in HU for short periods of time.

Unfortunately, in 2020 we had to postpone some student visits to HU due to the pandemic. Professor Franklin Jaramillo from University of Antioquia was scheduled to deliver some lectures at HU as part of a HSI this year, but that activity was also cancelled.

We also have a student applying to the MEXT scholarship, if successful, she would like to carry out her PhD at Hokudai.

I hope that this year we will be able to resume active exchanges between the two universities.