You are currently viewing Rosa Déves assumes as the first female rector of the University of Chile in 180 years: “We have come to represent women and their struggles”

In the Central House of the University of Chile, the delivery ceremony of the Rector Rosa Déves Alessandri took place, who will lead the public education institution in the period 2022-2026 as the first woman to hold the position in 180 years of history of the university entity. After receiving the university medal from the person who headed the House of Bello for eight years, Dr. Ennio Vivaldi, the biochemist developed a discourse marked by the defense of public education and the struggle of women to gain spaces of power.

“We have come to represent women and their struggles to conquer development spaces in the academic fieldin the professions and in education in general and to say from this place to the girls and young women of our country that it is possible, that we have done it for years, that we have a genealogy of many women who did it before and who did it from this university for Chile”, held.

Along these lines, she addressed the history of Eloísa Díaz, the first woman to pursue higher education in the country and who graduated as a surgeon from the School of Medicine of the University of Chile in 1887. “To them today we want and must pay tributeremembering some inescapable in our history for their deep conviction about equal abilities and the right to influence public life, for being persistent, for clear in their objectives and generous in the sense of solidarity with their gender”, valued.

Deves also highlighted the role that public education must play in times of uncertainty, which is to promote “a civic culture based on respect for democracy.” In this sense, he indicated that “We will take care to nurture with ideas and relevant knowledge the discussion about the rules that govern us and public policies to achieve higher levels of equity. in all areas, because in this way we will also contribute to a peaceful and democratic coexistence”.

“As a public university, we must assume a leading role in promoting dialogue at a national and international level, contributing to the creation of cooperation platforms that, focused on the generation of knowledge and the training of people, join the effort to advance in rights and achieve social justice. We will continue to work tirelessly to strengthen public education, the meeting place and growth of all, in coordination with all areas of the State, especially with the state university system. always seeking to act as an axis of understanding with broad sectors of our society,” he said.

Devés was elected on May 12 by the university community, attracting 53 percent of the total votes. Thus, she became the 21st rector of the institution and the successor to whom she held two terms in office, the surgeon, Ennio Vivaldi.

The outgoing rector reviewed the principles on which his management was based, with which he highlighted the axis of the public and that of cooperation. “I thank the University of Chile for these eight years that gave new meaning to my life, also for everything I have lived in it, with it and for its fundamental role in building this country that we inhabit and love,” he said.

“I present to you a university that has an indomitable force. After us will come other rectors and rectors. The University of Chile will continue to be the university of Chile: infinite”, Vivaldi affirmed addressing Devés and climaxing a speech that closed with copious applause.


For his part, the patron of the Casa de Bello, the President of the Republic, Gabriel Boric, highlighted the link between the University and the environment. “It is not a university closed in on itself and each one of you, each member of the university community represents it in your daily actions”, he affirmed.

What is thought from Chile is not thought for Chile, it is thought for Chile and that which can be a tongue twister or a logical conjunction is tremendously relevant because it is a university that, as we have said, is always facing the country and I have no doubt that in this new rectorate, in this new period under the command of Professor Rosa Devés this will continue to fly higher and higher, higher and higher without losing sight, by the way, of the ground that unites us ”, added the president.

On the other hand, she pointed out that in Chile it has been difficult to understand that women can hold positions of power, which is extrapolated to the university itself. “I remember that, at some point, due to an oversight, canvases were hung showing the races that women were supposed to apply for and the races that men were supposed to apply for. Never again, because women can be everywhere, as they have shown in our Government with our first Minister of the Interior, Izkia Siches; our Minister of Defense, Maya Fernández; Marcela Ríos, our Minister of Justice”, she maintained.


The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Education, Marco Antonio Ávila- who shared the front seat with Vivaldi, Boric and Devés-; the former president, Ricardo Lagos; the Minister of the Interior, Izkia Siches and the Minister of Defense, Maya Fernández, among other Secretaries of State. The former rectors Víctor Perez and Luis Riveros, and the vice president of the Constitutional Convention, Gaspar Domínguez, also attended.

Asked by the drafting body and if he will extend the support for the Convention that characterized the last period of Vivaldi’s administration, Devés replied “with all emphasis, of course yes.” “That is the commitment of a University, not only of a rector, to be present when it is Chile that thinks of itself, that is the work of the Convention. Chile is thinking of itself, and the University of Chile that has thought of Chile throughout its history has even more reason to be present at this moment“, he claimed.

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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