Home > News > Newsletter Archive > Visit to Bogota, Colombia: 25 - 26 May 2017

Visit to Bogota, Colombia: 25 - 26 May 2017

Written by Lynette Pieterse on Wednesday, 17 January 2018 10:49

Facts about Colombia:

Christopher Columbus landed on the west coast of Colombia in 1499.

Spanish rule ( the Viceroyalty of New Granada)  lasted until 1819, when the Republic of Colombia was founded after the War of Independence  with Simón Bolívar as first President and Francisco Santander as Vice-President.

Since the 1960’s there has been a low intensity conflict between the government and guerrillas from the left and the far right. Formal peace was signed in 2015. The President Juan Manual Santos received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for concluding the peace process, which still needs to be ratified by referendum.

Today Colombia has the fourth largest economy in Latin America with a per capita GDP of US$ 6 104. The total area of Colombia is 1,14 m km² and a  population of  49,1 million.  It is situated in the north-western corner of South America, with Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Panama as neighbours.

The country is divided into 33 Departments (provinces) and Bogotá, with a population of 7 million,  is the capital city and situated at 2 600 m above sea level geographically in the centre of the country. The official language is Spanish (Castilian), but there are 68 indigenous languages spoken.

Industrial Engineering in Colombia:

Dr Henk van Tonder (SAIIE Executive Director) was invited by the Institute for International Cooperation (CERI) of the District University Francisco José de Calda (UD) to attend the first conference of the Colombian Institute of Industrial Engineers (ACII) at the Catholic University Santo Toma in Bogotá and the Engineering Week Seminar at Universidad Distrital.

From left to right:

Alexis Adamy Ortiz, the Director of CERI, at Universidad Distrital JFC, Bogotá & Dr Henk van Tonder (SAIIE Executive Director)

  • CERI is tasked with the internationalisation of the University UD and has a programme to formalise relationships with universities worldwide to exchange students and lecturers and to cooperate in research programmes and the standardisation of curricula.

At present there are 126 students in the exchange programme and 44 visiting lecturers. The first chapter of IISE in Latin America was established at the University UD (Chapter #985) in 2001.

CERI is actively seeking an agreement with a South African university. 

  • ACII was founded in 1984 and has a membership of approximately 100 graduate industrial engineers. It has formal recognition agreements with similar bodies in Latin America and has approached SAIIE for such an agreement.                                                                          

After seven decades of conflict in the country, the theme for the two day conference was “The role of IE’s in a post-conflict society”, with invitees from Latin America and South Africa.

The 18 presentations over the two days covered the role of the IE’s in the reconstruction of the society in Colombia with reference to agriculture, health services and infrastructure capacity building.

The Department of Industrial Engineering at Universidad Santo Toma acted as hosts for the conference.

Back: Members of ACII Council and Henk van Tonder (SAIIE)

Front: José Ramiro Bertieri (Director ACII), Beatriz Lorena Rodríguez (Dean IE, Universidad Santo Toma), Guillermo Gala Picon (President ACII)


  • The final year IE students organised their annual Engineering Week Seminar at the Universidad Distrital JFC (UD) and invited international speakers to address the topic “Smart cities, Productivity, Sustainability and Humanity”.                                                       

The key note address was delivered by Dr Eduardo da Cota, a member of the BRICS committee on Smart Cities. 

The final year IE class at Universidad Distrital José Francisco de Calda, with invited speakers

Invited Speakers from left to right:              

Jesús Velásques (Chief Scientist, D O Analytics), Dr Eduardo da Costa (University Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil), Henk van Tonder (SAIIE), Guillermo Real Flórez (UD) and Juan Carlos Guevara (UD – absent)




Last updated Wednesday, 17 January 2018 08:49