VENEZUELA. CAFA reconnects Venezuelan academics through the InterConectados network.

An initiative supported by the Coalition for Academic Freedom of the Americas 
Reconnecting Venezuelan academics through the InterConectados network 

Venezuela has a growing academic diaspora throughout the world, as part of the massive emigration that the country has faced in recent years. According to estimates by sociologist Tomás Páez of the Venezuelan Diaspora Observatory, some 7.2 million Venezuelans have left the country since 2003. Of those millions of people, many are professors and students, some located in universities and research centres in Latin America, Europe, North America and Asia. Many others are not integrated into academic systems. They all make up a potential network of talents, collective intelligence and relationships that can contribute to the recovery of the university and research sectors in Venezuela. 

A study commanded by the Inter-American Development Bank has estimated that Venezuela has lost 16% of its scientific researchers (data published in 2020), mainly due to the deterioration of living conditions. The authors of the research point to the importance of developing networks to connect expatriate researchers to facilitate the promotion of joint projects, teaching, internships and consulting. 

In order to promote connection, communication and collaboration among Venezuelan academics and researchers who live in Venezuela and in different countries, the InterConectados Foundation has made its Internet platform available to the academic community to turn it into a virtual networking and collaboration. This initiative is supported by the Coalition for Academic Freedom of the Americas (CLAA) created by the University of Monterrey (Mexico), the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa (Canada) and the international organization Scholars at Risk based in New York. 

CAFA seeks to promote awareness and defense of academic freedom throughout the Americas region (from Canada to Chile). Its objective is to advance relevant human rights standards, both as a means of protecting higher education spaces in the Western Hemisphere, and as an opportunity to create best practices. 

InterConectados is a non-profit organization created in 2011 by a group of academics and professionals interested in promoting the dissemination of knowledge through the use communication technologies to facilitate timely and creative solutions to many of the social problems that require collaborative leadership in Venezuela and in Latin America. A key element for the work carried out by InterConectados is the creation of interdisciplinary teams with those in Venezuela and in the world.