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Promoting excellence in Asturias

CajAstur logoLSE Enterprise has agreed a collaboration with the Asturian bank CajAstur, designed to provide world-class opportunities for the future leaders of Asturias, the Royal Principality of Spain. Ten young professionals from Asturias will come to LSE for ten weeks in October 2010, undertaking a comprehensive programme on Finance and International Political Economy. CajAstur will also sponsor up to four 'Becas de Excelencia' Scholarships for those students gaining places at LSE to study master's programmes.

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) played an essential role in making the agreement possible. Its representatives for Northern Spain, UK Trade & Investment Officer and British Consul, Derek Doyle, and Maria Fitzpatrick, UK Trade & Investment Assistant, both have working knowledge and contacts with the Asturias region in northern Spain.

They had already worked closely with LSE Enterprise in projects in the Basque Country and recognised that there could be possibilities for replicating some of the business already obtained there in Asturias. Derek had contact with Manuel Menendez, the President of CajAstur, with whom he discussed LSE Enterprise's operations in the Basque Country. Manuel went on to put the UKTI team in Bilbao in contact with the head of CajAstur's new think tank, Antonio Alvarez of their Economic and Innovation Analysis Unit. Antonio saw the business and educational potential in Asturias for LSE Enterprise and in cooperation with the UKTI team in Bilbao went on to organise a one-day visit with meetings with key players from the business and academic communities.

As a result of this visit LSE Enterprise designed a new programme – 'Promoting Talent'. Comprising the same contact time as a standard LSE master's degree but condensed into ten weeks, this customised course combines lectures and specialist seminars by hands-on practitioners, visits to UK institutions such as the Houses of Parliament and the Institute of Fiscal Studies, and LSE's public lectures by world-renowned speakers. The programme will run for three years in the first instance.

Flag of AsturiasThe participants will experience the intellectual challenge of studying at Europe's leading social science university. They will study both as a cohort and among other LSE students to help them integrate into university life and develop their English language skills. Interacting with staff and students from over 140 countries will give them a unique comparative and international perspective. They will both live and study in central London, close to the UK's legal, financial and governmental centres and London's vibrant cultural life. Upon returning to their region, they will not only have an understanding of finance, management and the global economy, but exposure to critical thinking and the communication and leadership skills to play a significant part in the future of Asturias.