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In the early 80's, the Santa Cruz Department represented a region who's economic and agricultural potential was just being discovered. Its capital, Santa Cruz de Sierra, was rapidly being converted into a city of great political and economic importance. For this emerging center, the formation of well prepared professionals was of vital importance. At that time, the average time required to complete a professional study program in the country was ten years, principally due to the political and economic instability of public universities. This situation, added to the growing national need for highly qualified professionals, spurred, in 1982, the creation of the Foundation for the Integral Development of Bolivia (FUNDESIB) with the objective of combating this deficiency. The first project of the nascent foundation was that of creating a Higher Education Institution. This aspiration became a reality an August 14, 1984, when Nur University received the Presidential Decree No. 20441, authorizing its establishment as a private university. Trajectory Nur University inaugurated its first academic year in April, 1985 with four undergraduate programs: Systems Engineering, Social Communication, Business Administration and Agricultural Economics. The following year it implemented Bolivia's first Graduate College and in 1994 was a pioneer in introducing the Distance Education modality at the undergraduate level. In 1996, Nur trained 2000 rural teachers as Agents of Community Development in Bolivia and 300 teachers in the La Rioja Province in Argentina. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports contracted Nur in 1999 to strengthen the academic and administrative capacities of two State Teachers Colleges: INSOPC in Camiri and INS "Rafael Chvez Ortiz" in Portachuelo. In 2000 Nur received the highest distinction granted by the Santa Cruz Municipal Government, the "Municipal Merit Medal", given for the community service work developed by the University through UNIRSE (University Students in Service to the Community). That same year the University received the "Pioneers in Education" prize, granted by the Bolivian Center for Research and Educational Action-CEBIAE. Nur soon after introduced the nationally accredited Network Design and Administration Program to the country, in agreement with the CISCO Networking Academy, opening in 2000 the first local CISCO Academy in Santa Cruz, and, two year later, in Cochabamba and La Paz. In 2001, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports called upon all the private universities in the country to submit to an evaluation process in accordance with the new Private University Regulations, in which Nur was evaluated as a "Full University". In 2002 Nur University was selected as a "Center for Educational Excellence" for the Andean Region; an initiative launched at the Summit for the Americas, supported by the United States Agency for International Development-USAID. The long tradition of being a pioneer in higher education in Bolivia has continued in 2003. Nur has implemented 3 periods during the academic year, which offers the possibility of finishing university in less time, allowing the option to continue with graduate study and/or faster entrance into the labor market. Currently, the University has 4,000 registered students in 17 undergraduate and graduate programs offered full or part-time or through Distance Education.
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