The main aim of the Development and Cooperation Office (ODEC) is to raise awareness within the university community and among the citizens of Lleida in general about the imbalance in North-South relations. The principal lines of work of the OCS are to support cooperation and solidarity initiatives, create an intercultural space and establish a repository of alternative information.
The Office’s activities consist in organising talks, exhibitions, training courses on cooperation and development, cooperation brigades in Cuba, Guatemala, Ecuador and Nicaragua, university solidarity days, film seasons, help for cooperation projects, an exchange programme between Catalan universities and those of Bosnia Herzegovina, and collaborations with other organisations.
The International Cooperation for Development Information and Documentation Centre is a service that the Office offers to the university community, as well as to institutions and NGOs in Lleida, that is designed to promote knowledge about international relations and cooperation for development. It likewise contributes to increasing the resources that facilitate an understanding about these topics and that reflect on them.
The Centre is currently extending its materials through the acquisition of books, videos and various teaching units, with the aim of restructuring and updating all the subjects available.
Over the years, the University of Lleida has attached great importance to cooperation as it is firmly committed to solidarity, both within the local community and in the world at large. Since it was considered fundamental to reflect this aspect in its performance, the OCS was created 1994 with the aim of raising awareness throughout the university community and among the citizens of Lleida in general about the North-South imbalance in terms of the poverty experienced by the inhabitants of the so-called Third World, as a result of which hunger is commonplace, healthcare is lacking and, in short, leads to the overall unfair balance of resources on the planet.
The OCS, which at present depends on the Vice-rector's Office for International Relations and Cooperation, is divided into four basic areas of work: education, cooperation, awareness and documentation. This structure allows the OCS to cover a wide range of activities and teach subjects, free-elective credits, seminars, postgraduate courses, etc. about topics related to international cooperation, development and solidarity. It also finances cooperation projects, gives technical advice about studies or projects in this area, manages the Tempus programme, and is involved in running activities such as workshops, film seasons, exhibitions and volunteer groups.
More recently, the OCS has extended its area of work thanks to the setting up of the Rural Development Cooperation Centre that promotes research, awareness-raising and education from the academic, social, political and institutional perspectives in the area that gives it its name.
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