The ‘OBREAL Global Observatory’ (OBREAL Global), is an organisation with members from diverse, internationally-oriented academic and research institutions, university associations and networks and individual researchers and professionals from Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The secretariat, based in Barcelona, Spain, is driven by a dynamic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural staff with competencies in project and grant management, communications, higher education and research policy, regional integration and international relations.

OBREAL Global has a long experience in managing European Union (EU) funded projects in collaboration with lead research and teaching higher education institutions, higher education organisations and associations and other social and governmental partners.

This has primarily entailed projects which have contributed to connecting higher education actors and institutions in diverse regions, contributing to regional integration as well as to economic and social development.

Beyond the secretariat, OBREAL Global is organized through regional and national chapters (South America, India, Central America, Caribbean, Africa) that drive its agenda based on different regional and national needs as well as commonalities, in the interest of building capacities and generating global, South-South-North collaboration.

OBREAL Global has satellite offices in Argentina, Colombia, India and Oman.

Our History

The Global Observatory emerges from OBREAL which was created as a network in order to implement a cooperation project of the European Commission (DG RELEX y EuropeAid). At that moment, the Commission pointed out in its call that the relationship between the European Union and Latin America had become closer as a result of bi-regional summits, existing association agreements (i.e. México and Chile) and association agreement negotiations. Therefore, more and more advices were required for decision-making in the area of bi-regional relationships.

OBREAL was born in this context, with the aim of contributing to the creation of a network of institutions and organizations from both regions which had no coordination mechanisms and/or limited visibility. As a result, OBREAL was set up by 23 academic institutions, research centers in Europe and Latin America, and their own networks.

Between 2004 and 2016, OBREAL’s research was organized in five thematic areas:

• Trade and financial relations and regional integration
• Democracy, human rights and the rule of law
• Social and development cooperation
• Global governance and multi-regionalism
• Civil society and institution’s building

Since 2017, the Global Observatory re-defined its former thematic areas and has extended its outreach from Europe to Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, connecting important actors in diverse sectors in collaborative projects for development. In this new context, and keeping its main goals, the Global Observatory concentrated its actions in project managing, incorporating new members and supporting institutions in the network.

CORE VALUES

OBREAL Global Goals

OUR TEAM

Management TEAM

Ramón Torrent

President

Between 1988 and 1998, Ramon Torrent was a member and later the Director for International Economic Relations in the Legal Service of the EU Council. He is one of the five EU-proposed members of the roster of arbitrators for the EU agreements with Central America, Peru and Colombia, Chile, CARIFORUM, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Korea, SADC and Central Africa. Until his retirement in September 2017, Ramon was a full professor of Political Economy and International Economic Law at the Universitat de Barcelona. He launched in 2008 and directed for 10 years the extinct Master of Laws in International Economic Law and Policy (IELPO LL.M.), a top-notch program that gathered salient Faculty and talented students from more than 84 nationalities, and whose graduates currently occupy leading positions worldwide.

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He has coordinated a number of International, mainly EU-funded, projects of cooperation in Higher Education with Latin America, the Mediterranean, the EU’s Neighbouring Countries and Africa. He launched the process of the Arab – Euro Conferences on Higher Education (AECHE). He is currently (2019) the scientific coordinator of the Horizon 2020 project EULAC Focus (“Giving Focus to the cultural, scientific and social dimension of EU – CELAC relations”) as well as the President of OBREAL Global.

 

Kiran G.R.

Vicepresident

Dr. Kiran GR is  currently the Dean of Middle East College (MEC), which is one of the largest higher education institutions in the Sultanate of Oman and the Vice -President of OBREAL-Global. Kiran  holds a PhD in Information Systems from the London School of Economics & Political Science, UK.  Kiran has more than 23 years of vast experience from his key roles at national and international levels in areas relating to higher education management, teaching, research, strategic policy development, quality assurance, social computing, governance reforms, e-governance, and ICT for development. He is an External Reviewer with the Oman Authority of Academic Accreditation (OAAA) since 2015.

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In his capacity as the Dean of MEC, Dr. Kiran has chaired the Institutional Standards Assessment panel to colleges/universities within Oman. Dr. Kiran also holds vast experience in heading and implementing key governmental projects on e-governance and ICT in Kerala, India.

Elizabeth K. Colucci

International Projects Director

Elizabeth Colucci currently serves as the International Projects Director for the OBREAL Global Observatory, based in Barcelona, a membership organisation that provides a platform for strategic partnerships between the EU, Latin America and different regions of the world. She has supported the transition of this organisation towards its current global mandate, profiled around North-South-South multi-lateral cooperation in the higher education, research, audio-visual, employment and local development sectors. For the Global Observatory, and in her broader function as a global higher education consultant, Elizabeth develops and coordinates projects on topics ranging from research management to local development, to innovative curricula design, to quality assurance and accreditation.

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She presently advises the European University Association (EUA), a major stakeholder in the European Higher Education and Research Areas, which she worked for as a programme manager between 2008 and 2015. She has also previously worked for the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) in Brussels, the Fulbright Commission to Belgium and Luxemburg and the European Commission of the EU. She has both lectured and published on topics related to higher education internationalisation, mobility, joint degrees, teaching and learning reform, the Bologna Process, higher education regional integration and e-learning. Elizabeth has degrees from both Duke University and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), but feels that her education has been and will be a continuous process.

 

Nicolás Patrici

Director of Strategy

Nicolas Patrici is one of the directors of OBREAL Global. Dr.Patrici has an extensive experience in education management and international cooperation.  He has worked extensively in higher education projects and regional integration initiatives in India, Oman, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean

Nicolás has been in charge of the coordination of ALFA, Erasmus Mundus Action 1, 2 and 3, TEMPUS Projects and leading EU cooperation and research projects and EU specialized actions in the field of international cooperation for more than 15 years.

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Before his appointment as a director at OBREAL-Global, Dr. Patrici has been the Director of the  Observatory of Globalization of the University of Barcelona (2017-2020), the director of the University of Barcelona and Middle East College´s  Smart Knowledge Alliance SKA based in Muscat (2014-2017), Oman and worked for UB’s AECHE Secretariat that leads the AECHE (Arab-European Conferences on Higher Education) process together with the European University Association (EUA) and the Association of Arab Universities (AARU) (2013-2017).  Nicolás holds a bachelor’s degree (5 years) in political science from Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), (Argentina), an MPhil from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona (Spain), and has pursued doctoral studies in Science Po, Paris (France), Leiden University (The Netherlands) and the University of Barcelona (Spain) where he obtained his Doctoral Degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Philosophy and Classical Studies.

 

Paulo Speller

OBREAL Global Senior Representative in Brazil

He joined the OBREAL Global Management Team as Senior Representative in Brazil in 2018.

Prior joining OBREAL Global, Paulo acted as the secretary general of the OEI (Organization of Iberoamerican States) and between 2010 and 2015 Professor Speller was the secretary of Higher Education of the Ministry of Education of Brazil. Paulo was also the Rector of the Federal University of Matogrosso and the President of ANDIFES (Associação Nacional dos Dirigentes das Instituições Federais de Ensino Superior)

 
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He has more than 16 years of professional experience in the identification, formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of different types of international projects: grants for international development cooperation projects, international public tenders for the execution of service and consultancy contracts in the field of technological and industrial cooperation; in particular, in the specialised areas of communication, education, ICT and digital transformation.

Experience in the management of international cooperation projects with various types of donors: multilateral (European Union – EU; United Nations Development Programme – UNDP; and with the IDB LAB of the “Inter-American Development Bank” Group – IDB); bilateral cooperation agencies (AECID; SIDA); and decentralised cooperation agencies (ACCD; Barcelona City Council); etc.

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Ángel Manuel Rafael

Project Manager

Angel Manuel Rafael is Project Manager at OBREAL Global.

He provides transversal support regarding the project and financial Management of OBREAL GLOBAL´s EU funded programs. He also provides support to global surveys and research work on Higher Education and Research.

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Angel Manuel Rafael has a degree in Business administration and Economics from the University of Marburg, Germany. Since 2004, he has been working in several European countries and organisations (public and private) and has gained a lot of experience as Team leader, managing large European higher education and research projects (LLL, TEMPUS, Erasmus +, FP7, H2020, IMI, ACP Innovation Fund, LIFE etc.) and launching studies on Higher education and research policy. Angel has also strong competences related to the budget and proposal development of Higher Education and Research and Development projects, implementation of trainings and the development of internal ICT solutions to facilitate the EU project management. He has longstanding experience in private and public entities providing where he provided support to entrepreneurs and start ups, SME´s and big companies and public entities accompanying their business development and growth and providing support according to their needs in the different phases they were in.

Angel speaks German, Spanish, English and French fluently and has basic knowledge of Portuguese and Arab.

 

Apiyo Okwiri

Project Manager

Apiyo Okwiri is currently the Project Manager for Africa at OBREAL Global. 

She has vast experience in the field of International cooperation in Higher Education and quality assurance.

 

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She has worked as a lead consultant on Research and Education Networks in Eastern and Southern Africa of Ubuntunet Alliance, Malawi. She has been involved in several collaborative projects with other organizations focused on Higher Education, namely the Association of African Universities (AAU), the African Union (AU), and the European Universities Association (EUA) under the Africa-EU partnership as a Tuning Expert in Tuning Africa and Institutional Evaluation Expert in Europe-Africa Quality Connect: Building Institutional Capacity through Partnership.

She is a former President of Erasmus Mundus Association (EMA) global, former President of the EMA African Chapter and Co – Chair of Erasmus+ Students and Alumni Alliance (ESAA). She is currently co-leading the establishment of the African Student and Alumni Forum (ASAF).

She’s a Kenyan national and an alumna Erasmus Mundus. She holds and M.A Economics from the Joint European Master in Comparative Local Development (CoDe) programme having studied at the University of Trento in Italy, Corvinus University in Hungary, University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, and Regensburg University in Germany. She is carrying out her doctoral research at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya and holds a B.Sc in Mathematics & Chemistry from Egerton University, Kenya.

Apiyo has excellent command of Swahili, and English and has basic knowledge of Italian, French and German.

 

Eloi Espósito

Communication Officer

Eloi Espósito is currently the communications officer at OBREAL Global. Eloi holds a degree in Tourism from the Universitat de Girona. He has experience in communication management and development of different projects and initiatives in institutional and social organisations.

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In 2019 he joined the OBREAL Global team as an assistant in the Finance Department. Since January 2021, she has held the position of Head of Communications.

At OBREAL Global she has participated in the development of the projects CAMINOS, VitaGlobal, EQUAM LA, Mimir Andino, Neprev, Success and HAQAA2

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Carles Hernández

Project Manager

He holds a degree in sociology from the University of Barcelona, with specialisations in audiovisual communication (Master – UAB), in regional integration and international economic relations (Postgraduate – UB), and in teaching (CAP – UB). He joined the project management team of OBREAL GLOBAL at the beginning of 2005, becoming a member of the Executive Secretariat between 2009 and 2017, and from November 2017 to the present, as an individual partner of the entity.

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He has more than 16 years of professional experience in the identification, formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of different types of international projects: grants for international development cooperation projects, international public tenders for the execution of service and consultancy contracts in the field of technological and industrial cooperation; in particular, in the specialised areas of communication, education, ICT and digital transformation.

Experience in the management of international cooperation projects with various types of donors: multilateral (European Union – EU; United Nations Development Programme – UNDP; and with the IDB LAB of the “Inter-American Development Bank” Group – IDB); bilateral cooperation agencies (AECID; SIDA); and decentralised cooperation agencies (ACCD; Barcelona City Council); etc.

Daniel King

Strategic partner in Digitalization

Daniel King is the Director of King Digital Agency, helping clients and companies to build new digital channels to sell, communicate and promote their products and services. Focus on social media, web and interactive multimedia 4.0