North Park University Hosts Diplomat from Republic of Ecuador
Dr. Sebastián Lecaro, right, consular agent, Republic of Ecuador, meets with Raquel Morales, left, co-president of the University's Latin American Students Association. With them is Dr. Lorenzo Florián, professor of Spanish.
Chicago consulate official visits campus as part of Hispanic Heritage Month
CHICAGO (Sept. 22, 2011) — An official of the Republic of Ecuador, Dr. Sebastián Lecaro, visited the North Park University campus September 20 to meet with students and discuss his home country, one of the most ethnically and bio-diverse countries in the world.
Lecaro is the Ecuadorian government's consular agent in Chicago. His visit to the University was part of North Park's month-long observance of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Lecaro's visit was timely. In 2011, students from North Park University began traveling to and studying in Ecuador. Seven students from the University went to Ecuador earlier this year, said Dr. Cheri Meachem, professor of Spanish. Seven students from Ecuador are studying at the University's Chicago campus this semester, said Dr. Jennifer Pope, director, North Park University International Office.
About 150,000 people from Ecuador are living in the Chicago area, Lecaro said. In his role, he assists people to secure travel visas and other documentation, and the consulate works to promote the country through its work with several Chicago-area Ecuadorian organizations. He also works with U.S. officials to help undocumented Ecuadorians return to their native country.
Located on the northwest coast of South America, the republic has a population of about 15 million people, with nearly 70 percent of its people under age 35, Lecaro said. Twenty-two provinces in Ecuador are spread over four distinct regions: the world-famous Galápagos Islands, the western coast, the Andes mountain range, and the Amazon.
Two of Ecuador's cities, Quito and Cuenca, have been declared World Heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) because of the historic structures in each city, he said. Two natural sites, the Galápagos Islands and Sangay National Park, are also on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The Galápagos Islands, about 800 miles off the western coast of Ecuador, are "a living scientific laboratory," Lecaro said, adding that there are species on the islands that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. Ecuador shelters the greatest diversity of plants and animals in the world, Lecaro said. Ecuador's land lies on each side of the equator, he noted.
Key exports are petroleum products, bananas, shrimp, and coffee, Lecaro said.
For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.