The University of Arizona, which already maintains strong collaborations in Brazil, has been chosen by a federally supported program to expand educational, research, cultural and economic initiatives with institutions in the South American country.
The UA is one of 16 U.S. institutions selected to participate in the Institute of International Education’s yearlong International Academic Partnership Program. The University is uniquely poised to collaborate with Brazil given its long history of partnership with the country, and the UA’s disciplinary expertise in areas important to both nations.
Under the program, the UA and its partner institutions will advance strategic plans for internationalization that will better connect students and faculty, and that are mutually beneficial to both the U.S. and Brazil.
"Brazil is one of the rising economies in the world and has a strong commitment to advancing its educational capacity, sending students abroad and expanding its research capacity,” said Mike Proctor, the vice president of UA Global Initiatives.
"The world is undergoing this huge change in higher education, and a lot of that requires that institutions and regions align themselves to that evolving global landscape," Proctor said.
"We can offer our expertise to help create peers for those emerging educational institutions and systems."
The Brazil initiative was launched to build the capacity of institutions and provide a global environment for students and faculty. IAPP, which largely comprises training activities, is designed to assist each institution in implementing and sustaining partnerships with counterparts in Brazil.
"Higher education stands to play a vital role in Brazil and educational partnerships between the U.S. and Brazil will help build Brazil’s intellectual capital while fostering key institutional partnerships between the two nations," said Allan E. Goodman, president and CEO of the Institute of International Education.
For the 16 institutions involved, the Center for International Partnerships in Higher Education will guide campus representatives through a strategic planning process in the current academic year geared toward establishing partnerships with institutions in Brazil.
Also, IAPP includes a weeklong study tour to Brazil this spring to enable those from the U.S. to learn about the Brazilian higher education system and meet with potential partner campuses and agencies.
IAPP's priorities align with a number of long-standing initiatives at the UA. The University has maintained relationships with institutions in Brazil for the benefit of education, research and economic development, with some dating back to the 1960s, Proctor said.
Proctor noted that UA faculty are involved in a tremendous amount of work in Brazil, especially in the environmental sciences, regional development and languages. UA faculty have, over the last two years, been involved in a dozen research projects in Brazil totaling about $1.6 million, Proctor said. Many other opportunities also exist in the life sciences, agriculture, mining and public policy, particularly related to indigenous peoples.
The UA hosted dozens of students and also 18 faculty members and scholars from Brazil last year. This year, 55 students from Brazil are participating in preparatory language programs through the Center for English as a Second Language, Proctor said, adding that young Brazilian scholars also have come to the UA over the years to pursue advanced degrees.
"Today, many of those scholars have assumed positions of influence and, over the years, programs developed by those individuals have flourished," Proctor said. "In addition, we have a significant number of UA faculty hailing from Brazilwith ties to Brazil, and those relationships have flourished as well."