Brazil trip reaps rewards

May 10, 2012

President Andrew Petter recently concluded a 10-day visit to Brazil to attend the Conference of the Americas on International Education with Canada’s Governor General David Johnston and a delegation of Canadian university presidents.

During his stay, Petter worked to increase SFU’s visibility as a destination of choice for Brazilian students, and to deepen our mutually beneficial partnerships in areas such as clean energy, business and innovation, digital media, and public health.

Highlights of the trip included signing two memoranda of understanding.

One, with the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) will explore research collaborations and student exchanges between the two institutions. UNICAMP is an internationally recognized centre of academic excellence in technology, health sciences, natural sciences, human sciences, and the arts.

As well, SFU joined three other Canadian universities — Concordia, Ryerson and York — and the Foundation for Research Support of the State of Sao Paulo in signing a memorandum announcing $400,000 in funding for joint research projects. The partnership includes graduate student and faculty mobility opportunities.

Brazil is investing heavily in science, technology and innovation education: its Science Without Borders program will send 100,000 undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students abroad on international fellowships. Canadian universities, including SFU, will receive about 12,000 of these Brazilian scholars by 2016 for programs that include language training, academic study and internships.

“I’m particularly happy to report that SFU is well known and regarded by many in Brazil,” says Petter. “There is huge interest in pursuing a variety of partnership initiatives in relation to education, research and community development.”

Canada has become Brazil’s top study-abroad destination, including 20 Brazilian students attending SFU, of which seven are graduate students. And SFU has numerous ties to Brazil and South America in a multitude of fields.

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