“Californians are better and stronger today and in the future because of our commitment to diversity and inclusivity of people and ideas.”

With those words, Timothy White, chancellor of the 23-campus California State University system, helped welcome educators from throughout Latin America and other parts of the world to the 52nd annual Latin American Commission for Administration Schools, known by its acronym in Spanish, CLADEA.

The conference, “Breaking the Mold: Anticipating the Challenges of Local Education,” is being jointly hosted by CLADEA and its association member, the Cal State San Bernardino Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, and will be held in Riverside through Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Riverside Convention Center.

More than 400 educators and administrators will be attending the international event, which marks the first time it is being held in Southern California and only the fourth time it is held in the continental United States.

White, along with Tomás D. Morales, president of CSUSB; Kim Wilcox, chancellor of UC Riverside; and Octavio Ibarra Consuegra, dean of administrative Sciences Division of the University of North in Barranquilla, Columbia, and incoming CLADEA president, welcomed more than 170 conference attendees during the opening night celebration held at the Mission Inn in Riverside on Tuesday.

White said that California’s commitment to social ascent and justice has helped spur the state forward.

“This innate belief is at the core of the California spirit — and it is what drives our technology innovations in Silicon Valley, powers our world-class agriculture and winemaking, and fosters incredible discoveries each day in the areas of biomedicine, aerospace, teaching, business and public administration,” said White.

“Indeed this California spirit is what drives the California State University and Cal State San Bernardino, a leader in business, entrepreneurship and public administration education throughout the state and country each and every day,” he said. “The California State University was founded with the belief that every student willing to do the work, regardless of background, circumstances or status, should have the opportunity to go to college, earn a degree and set a course for lifelong success. This belief still defines our values, vision and mission today.”

White urged the attendees to “work together to build partnerships that break the mold.”

“When we build partnerships with colleges, governments and organizations beyond our borders, we foster more opportunities for our students to study abroad and experience new cultures while faculty and staff share ideas and develop cutting-edge research,” White said. “And when we build partnerships with the private sector and industry groups, we can gain valuable insight in our curriculum and create more internship and employment opportunities for our students and alumni.”

“There’s no doubt that partnerships like these — and many, many others — are absolutely vital to our success today, tomorrow and in the future,” he said.

Morales, who introduced White, told the attendees that he was very “interested in international exchange programs with many of the institutions in attendance that will benefit both our students and faculty. We have much to learn and share.”

Morales said he was hopeful that, through the conference, CSUSB “could build lasting relationships with CLADEA members for many years to come.”

Wilcox called the gathering “a special night for Riverside because all of the Americas are here.”

“It reminds us that we have so much in common,” Wilcox said.

The CLADEA 2017 Annual Assembly is an opportunity for experts and educational leaders from around the world to meet in a common forum and discuss issues of globalization, world trade, the role of higher education, and the roles of government, academia, business and civil society in this time of constant changes and technological advances, said Kimberly Collins, an associate professor of public administration, director of the Leonard Transportation Center and the CSUSB chair of the CLADEA conference.

CLADEA is an international, nonprofit organization headquartered in Peru that joins higher education institutions and other international organizations devoted to teaching and research in the field of business administration. Its membership includes more than 200 institutions from Latin America, North America, Europe and Oceania.

For more information on the conference, visit the CLADEA website.

Visit the CSUSB Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration website for information about the college.

For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, visit the university’s website at www.csusb.edu and contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007.