NJCU and GLACO Make Groundbreaking MOU Official at Signing Ceremony

December 4, 2023
The signing ceremony was attended by leaders from NJCU, GLACO, legislative leaders, and other local leaders.

JERSEY CITY, N.J. | New Jersey City University (NJCU), led by NJCU’s Guarini Institute for International Education and Economic Mobility, signed a first-of-its-kind memorandum of understanding (MOU) with GLACO — Grupo Latinoamericano de Cónsules en New Jersey — at a news conference and signing ceremony on Thursday, November 30, 2023.

NJCU becomes the first higher educational institution in New Jersey to enter into a formal collaboration agreement to partner with GLACO — an alliance made up of 17 Latin American consulates that aim to collaborate when offering consular services as well as migratory, educational and health issues. The organization contributes towards the recognition of the Latino community in New Jersey, establishing dialogues with local institutions and government agencies.


The purpose of the MOU is to explore ways for NJCU to collaborate with the consulates, and thus will, strengthen both institutions' commitment to serving Hispanic communities in New Jersey. The ceremony was held at the NJCU School of Business’s Skyline Room.

The MOU was signed by Andrés Acebo, Interim President NJCU and Roberto Ariel Valles Montes, Consul General of El Salvador in New Jersey and President of GLACO. 

A key objective of the MOU will be to initiate higher education programs and services designed and promoted that will be tailored to the Latin American and Latino community in New Jersey to advance their educational attainment and career development. Furthermore, the MOU will establish partnerships between Latin America higher education institutions and NJCU faculty and staff to promote international education programs. NJCU and GLACO will also partner to jointly celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and Latin American holidays through organized events and programs.

The Guarini Institute is the facilitator for this agreement, as part of its mission of economic mobility for individuals and families.

NJCU Interim President ​​Andrés Acebo said: “With the signing of this memorandum of understanding, our university strengthens its commitment to serving the most socioeconomically diverse student population in the state. NJCU has played a critical role in our community for generations and today’s MOU is yet another investment in those who depend on this institution. As an anchor institution for Hudson County and the region, our mission-driven work goes far beyond the classroom and is essential to the Jersey City and Hudson County communities, and we will continue focusing on being mission driven to bettering the lives of and providing educational access to our underserved communities. So many members of our community are from nations within the GLACO footprint, and I am excited about the outcomes this MOU will bolster.”

President Acebo signed the MOU on November 30 at a ceremony at NJCU's School of Business.
President Acebo signed the MOU on November 30 at a ceremony at NJCU's School of Business.

Acebo is just the second known Hispanic to serve as the leader of a four-year public university in New Jersey, and the only current Latino to lead a college or university (public or private) in the state. 

“This memorandum of understanding takes a step further in the rich relationship between NJCU and Latin America and the Latino community in New Jersey,” acknowledged Adrián Franco, Ph.D., the Executive Director of the Guarini Institute at NJCU. “It provides our university with a framework to better coordinate initiatives with 17 countries to advance the educational priorities and economic mobility of the Latin American and Latino families we serve. The agreement represents a clear continuation of the successful projects that the Guarini Institute has facilitated on behalf of NJCU with international partners."

As President of GLACO, Consul General Ariel Valle understands that Latin American communities settled in the State of New Jersey share a common past and history, from which an active relationship and solidarity is born. Individuals from the countries represented by GLACO offer contributions to society ranging from art and culture to the economy and public services.

President Acebo and GLACO President and Consul General Ariel Valle signed the MOU during a ceremony on November 30.

GLACO President Ariel Valle said: "By signing this memorandum of understanding we are taking concrete action on our commitment to address the challenges that communities of Latin American countries face in a similar way, which, because of their complexity, demand immediate attention and encourage the development of shared strategies for the achievement of common solutions within the framework of respect for human rights and international cooperation, based on dialogue, mutual understanding, shared responsibility and reciprocity."

NJCU is the oldest minority and Hispanic-serving public university in the state, serving thousands of first-generation students. It has an undergraduate population which is 45% Latinx and 54% first generation. The university’s demographics mirror those of Hudson County, which is home to 293,000 Hispanics — 42.5% of the county’s population. In the most ethnically diverse city in the United States, Latinos account for 28% of Jersey City’s total population. In Union City, one of the top sending districts of NJCU’s students and the hometown of President Acebo, Latinos make up 80% of the population. Additionally, in the 2020 census, New Jersey’s Latino population exceeded 2 million people — making up 21.6% of the state’s total population.

About NJCU
New Jersey City University is an institution of higher learning dedicated to the development of our students, our city, our communities, and our state. We are a game-changing force for our students and have been recognized as one of the top colleges in the nation improving their upward economic mobility. Whether enrolled in one of our undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral programs at our three locations, NJCU students have access to an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty. This prepares them to go on to become the next generation of workers and leaders who improve their communities and the State of New Jersey.

About the Guarini Institute for International Education and Economic Mobility
Launched in November 2020, the Institute’s mission is to create novel tools to facilitate the economic mobility of individuals and families experiencing financial hardship. Its vision is that financially vulnerable individuals and families have access to relevant information and resources to improve their upward economic mobility.  The Institute has previously facilitated formal agreements between NJCU and the Mexican Government, higher education institutions in Ireland and the Port of Ashdod in Israel.

GLACO was established with the purpose of promoting the interests of its member countries and the defense of the rights of their nationals. GLACO works based on the full conviction that through the adoption of joint goals and actions it can effectively advance towards the central objectives of its communities. It has as a guiding framework the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and ratifies its commitment to continue promoting the progress and welfare of its populations living in this region, strengthening its economy, culture, history and life.


Ira Thor, Associate Vice President for University Communications | ithor@njcu.edu | 201-200-3301