Hugo Eyzaguirre, director of Northern Michigan University's Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, has received the 2021 Patricia Elder International Award from the National Association of Economic Educators (NAEE).
The award recognizes individuals whose outstanding and dedicated service and leadership have had a significant impact on the delivery or enhancement of economic education throughout the world.
“To instill the economic way of thinking in others is a cherished mission to me,” Eyzaguirre said. “Moreover, to support it across borders has been like a dream come true. So to receive this award has a very special meaning. I'm deeply thankful for this honor and I share it with all those with whom I have worked side by side all these years.”
Eyzaguirre first got involved in the field in Peru, where he worked to create a center for economic education. There were no such entities functioning in Latin America at the time. He collaborated with U.S. educators on that effort and one year later, in 2010, joined both the NMU faculty and the international committee of the NAEE.
“At that time, the national Council for Economic Education [CEE] was organizing a program bringing international economic educators to the U.S., which turned out to be the last activity of its international program before federal funding suddenly stopped,” he said. “I worked on getting the NMU-CEEE to be chosen as one of the hosts for the group of visitors. It seemed a long shot since NMU is in a remote rural area with a small population, but the CEE selected our proposal and in April-May of 2011, 10 visitors arrived in Marquette with a well-packed program waiting for them.”
Eyzaguirre has continued serving on the international committee of NAEE, first as a member and since 2017 as chair. He said the committee has focused on maintaining a cooperative relationship with other organizations interested in international economic education and establishing relationships between NAEE members and foreign attendees to the fall annual meetings of the CEE.
In addition to that service, Eyzaguirre has led others in making the Common Sense Economics book and accompanying resources available to foreign audiences. The translation to Spanish is well underway. He said the hope is to train educators in the use of these resources in Spanish, here and in other countries.
NMU's center has been recognized previously with the 2012 Albert Beekhuis Center of Excellence Award from the National Council for Economic Education and the 2016 Upper Peninsula Economic Development Association (UPEDA) Nonprofit Award.