October 26, 2016

For his great contribution and influence at promoting territorial development for the generation of public policies, the University of Talca awarded the “Juan Ignacio Molina” Medal of Merit to prominent economist Sergio Boisier, considered one of the "fathers" of national regionalism driven from the Academy.

The presentation of the award took place during a ceremony held on the occasion of the 35 years of existence of our Corporation, held in the Great Hall of the Bicentennial building.

The task of introducing the honored fell in the hands of the President of the “Decentralized Chile Foundation ", Heinrich Von Baer, who outlined the many merits of Boisier.

"He is the best of the first and the first of the great American teachers in territorial development. He has been one of the more coherent and consistent intellectuals that I have known and he has never reneged on his ideas regarding the importance of territory in the development of the country," he said.

Von Baer added that the award winner is also "a tireless fighter" and an outstanding figure in the regional studies of Latin America and Spain, as he succeeded in combining the theoretical knowledge and the study of reality with political and institutional proposals and recommendations.

"He is a missionary, for his creative work in his  first years at the Ministry of Planning (MIDEPLAN, today known as the Ministry of Social Development) and then by his search of rethinking the theory and practice of development and his tireless work of dissemination. Persevering, Sergio did not surrendered to the unfavorable scenarios, to his innovative proposals, launching his ideas each time it was possible, as it was his experience at the University of Talca with the social conversations for development", he remarked.

Similarly, he stressed that throughout his history the winner of the 2016 “Abate Molina” medal “designed and launched notable experiences on planning and regional development, like the United Nations and Mideplan mission to the Bio Bio Region in 1990 and 1991, which served as a model for the construction of regional development strategies in Chile and Latin America summarized by him as the 'difficult' art of constructing a region".

It should be recalled that this recognition was established in 1992 by our Academic Institution to recognize the work of outstanding personalities and their contribution in such fields as science, history, literature, music and public life.

Among the figures that have received are Margot Loyola, mother Irene Garcia, Vicente Bianchi, Nicanor Parra, José Zalaquett, José Donoso, Cardinal Raúl Silva Henrã quez and Humberto Maturana, among others.


In this context, the president of the “Decentralized Chile Foundation” stated that the decision of our Academic Institution about honoring Boisier with the delivery of this high distinction is a way of recognizing his contributions "for us to realize that the world has changed and therefore our territories, too".

"His ideas not only are spread in the university’s graduate classrooms, but they begin to be translated into actions of regional communities and proposals for public policies, as is the case of the report that in the year 2014 delivered to the country the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Decentralization and Regional Development, where his work became a tacit knowledge in its members, embodied in a State policy proposal, some of whose reforms are today in legislative procedures", stressed Von Baer.

In the same line, President Alvaro Rojas stressed that the award winner "has delivered perhaps the more relevant contributions in our country in terms of decentralization, making a comparison of the regions. He has done comparative studies on Latin America and he is the natural model to all those who think that our country must make a determined effort to regionalize".

"With a solid theoretical basis, he established a comparative analysis of different nations and regions of our continent, developing an original line of work, which has been published in prestigious magazines and books in recognized publishers, as well as lectures in the most diverse national and international forums", added the authority.


At the time of receiving the distinction, Sergio Boisier declared himself deeply moved. "I feel honored, with a sense of pride, commitment and a lot of joy," said when receiving the “Abate Molina” medal from the hands of the president and from the representative of the Board of Directors of our Corporation, Fernando Coloma.

As a token of his gratitude, the economist gave to the University of Talca a copy of his book "Territory, State and Society in Chile, the Dialectics of Decentralization between Geography and Governance, a Doctoral thesis from the University of Alcala in Spain".

At the closing of the ceremony and recognizing that since he was notified of the award he waited anxiously for the day to come and receive it, Boisier highlighted the position reached by the UTALCA.

"It has a profound vocation of being what we call a regional university properly, i.e., that has relevance - people identify it as something that belongs to them-, and devotes special attention to the specific problems of the Maule Region. All this is very positive," he said.

He added that the aforementioned does not imply that the Academic Institution assumes a strictly "local" role, i.e. that it worries only about what happens in its area, "but that it is a university that is able to worry about its identity and to interact with others from it ".

Sergio Boisier also expressed his concern at the way the debate on the new framework for higher education has been developing.

"The performance of the Ministry of Education is frankly disastrous, and of course that punishes more, comparatively speaking, regional universities than national ones, without any doubt", he said.

In this context, he questioned the unequal treatment that historically the State has given the Academic Institutions that are outside of the Capital city and the impact this has on the areas in which they are embedded.

"We have a terribly homogenizing culture, that everything must be equal, when this is a country that has a brutal diversity: in the north we have the driest desert of the world, we have a fertile central valley while in the south there are fjords and snow, and the Chilean State tends to always give homogeneous solutions for a country that is brutally heterogeneous," he said.

"It is taught that we must all be the same, democracy is confounded with equality - and this is serious -, because democracy has never meant equality, but recognition of diversity", he emphasized.


Those attending the ceremony appreciated the decision of the UTALCA to deliver the “Abate Molina” Medal to Sergio Boisier. "This recognition is to the great work that has been done in empowering the regions, recognizing ourselves. We must feel proud to represent our territory and understand that our country is not built only in the Capital, but according to the needs and Mister Sergio has inspired that", stressed the governor of Linares, Claudia Aravena.

"It is a very well deserved recognition to Sergio Boisier, because he inspired us to improve our work from the regions," said the Vice President for Undergraduates, Marcela Vasquez, who then added that what a better date than the anniversary of our Corporation to reward someone who inspires and promotes decentralization. "The UTALCA is the sample that great things can be done from regions”, she said.

For his part, the Vice President for Economic Management and Administration, Hugo Salgado, valued the distinction delivered "to a regionalist who represents the values of the University, and how from the region we can contribute to the development of the country by training professionals who are able to contribute to Chile and to the world".

The director of the Center for Competitiveness of the Maule Region, Jorge Navarrete, recalled that "within the framework of the identity of our Corporation, he initiated a process of transfer of skills that the University needed to create the center of regional studies and, from there, began the collaboration to work with decision makers in the region".

Likewise, the dean of the Department of Education of our corporation, Rossana Fiorentino, expressed that the recognition awarded to Boisier comes to reward "the work that has been done to ensure that the goal of disseminating decentralization policies are real and do not remain only as words".