In league with the Partners of the Americas, the state of Minnesota and Montevideo continue to work toward strengthening ties with foreign nations.

In league with the Partners of the Americas, the state of Minnesota and Montevideo continue to work toward strengthening ties with foreign nations.

A sign of this continued effort with Minnesota’s partner, Uruguay, is a group of seven Uruguayan students accepted into the Youth Ambassador Pro­gram by the United States Embassy. The group visited Minnesota last week and were in Montevideo on Monday.

All seven students have proven themselves academically in Uruguay, and this is the sort of opportunity they never would have had if it weren’t for the Youth Ambassador Pro­gram.

While the students have been spending much of their time in the cities, during their trip to Montevideo they had the opportunity to go canoeing with Patrick Moore, and visit city hall to see the Uruguayan art collection on display there.

The students also were able to have a look at Montevideo and see Uruguayan colors all around town, as well as the golden sun symbol seen on many of Montevideo’s logos and signs.

“It is remarkable because Montevideo maintains its culture as well as sharing the culture of other places,” said Amanuel Pintos Casañas, who wishes to improve his English and become a lawyer.

“At one point it was more of an official relationship,” said Monte­video City Manager Steve Jones. “Over the years it has become more of a grassroots relationship, with people making personal relationships.”

That was the context of much of his message to the visiting students, and perhaps the theme of most of their visit to Montevideo.
Many of the students said they felt they were very welcome here in Montevideo, and Minnesota as a whole.

“People here are really nice and open,” said Ana Paula Idiarte, who is passionate about maintaining her own nation’s culture, as well as exploring those of other nations.

Minnesota and Uruguay have a long history together, going back to 1905 when Uruguay sent Minnesota a flag. Years later, in 1949, Montevideo was sent the statue of Jose Artigas.

Today, Minnesota and Uruguay’s relationship is an important one for the United States as a whole. Aside from the sharing of cultures, the bond serves the role of helping maintain friendships in South America when a number of Latin American countries are in the grip of governments and leaders that are anti-American.

“Uruguay has an intense interest in the United States,” said Patrick Moore.

“We keep trying to make things better and better together,” added Gabriela Marcenaro, the chaperone for the visiting students.

Both are good signs. Efforts of good will such as the exchange of youth ambassadors are a good way to ensure the relationship between Uruguay and the United States remains a personal one, and not one simply dictated by politics.

In addition to this visit other efforts are being made around the state to strengthen ties with Uruguay. Currently, the University of Minnesota is working out a policy that will allow Uruguayan students to attend at the same price they would pay for college back home.