As we approach our 50th anniversary as a business school, it's worth highlighting the progress made by our organization. What began with just a single 2-year 'commerce' program in 1965, the School of Management (formerly known as the Faculty of Business Administration) at the Universidad Externado de Colombia has expanded to offer an undergraduate bachelors program, 7 masters programs including the MBA, a PhD in Business, and numerous open and closed Executive Education programs. Currently, our community includes 2,200 active students and more than 11,400 alumni. Our graduates occupy executive positions in prestigious organizations both at home in Colombia and abroad.
We've made notable progress in our efforts to internationalize our institution by providing a truly global experience for students. Beyond our numerous exchange agreements with schools abroad, we now offer dual-degree programs with our partner institutions in Australia and Europe. In recognizing academic excellence, we reward the best students by sponsoring their participation in conferences and workshops in some of the most prestigious schools in the world. In partnering with some of those same schools, we've been able to deliver the most relevant and cutting edge material to our students and hope to be a catalyst in distributing the same material to other schools in our region moving forward. In maintaining and even expanding these collaborative practices, we will be able to provide the most relevant and contemporary educative experience both for our students and for those of our international partners.
Going forward, we will continue to take very seriously our leadership position in promoting responsible development in Colombia with the longer-term goal of becoming an international authority on the world of emerging markets with our education-through-practice approach. Our initiatives speak lengths about our commitment to local business and the growth and competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in particular. Through our Emerging Market Initiatives, including the internationally recognized and awarded Plan Padrinos program, we have trained countless students from Colombia and abroad in emerging market peculiarities and in consulting practices so as to help local companies become globally competitive. More recently, we've undertaken the role of orienting SMEs to expand their client base by adapting their business models to reach an otherwise marginalized bottom of the pyramid market sector, thus expanding their business prospects and improving the conditions in which the most impoverished of people live. Finally, we continue to promote socially and environmentally responsible practices in organizations through the same student-consultant approach. Not only are we training a new generation of responsible leaders, but we are fulfilling our own responsibilities in promoting responsible economic development as a business school.
I would like to thank the efforts of my colleagues, predecessors and partners for helping shape what the School of Management is at present. I would also like to extend an invitation to take advantage of our open-door policy to explore new possibilities in education; for it will surely be new projects developed through new friendships that shape our future.