University of the Sciences played host to a delegation of Brazilian Higher Education officials on Monday, Feb. 27 to investigate future institutional relationships and student exchanges. The delegation’s trip, hosted in Philadelphia through the International Visitors Council of Philadelphia, is aiming to grow the Government of Brazil’s “Science Without Borders” Program.
The “Science Without Borders” Program works with U.S. and Brazilian universities to support a broad spectrum of short- and longer-term academic and research opportunities at all levels. These include undergraduate and graduate study abroad; undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree exchange programs; post-doctoral, scholar, and scientific exchanges; and professional training. These opportunities are currently focused on science, technology, and innovation fields and related disciplines.
“We are especially focusing on the undergraduate level because it’s something that is new for us,” said Brazilian delegate member Robert Verhine, who originally is from the US and is vice provost at Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) where he has been for the last 35 years.
The Government of Brazil is looking to place 100,000 students over the next four years to study and conduct research, with half coming to the United States.
“In Brazil we have been experienced for many years - the last 50 years - with the internationalization of graduate students, professors, teachers, researchers, and students of PhD, but not undergrad,” said Livia Maria de Freitas Reis Teixeira, director of international relations at Federal University Fluminense. “The very new thing in this program is the huge presence, almost 40 percent of these are students in the undergrad (with a focus on) engineering and the health science.”
The roundtable discussion moderated by USciences Associate Provost Barbara Elliott was a free exchange of the needs for Brazilian students, such as language support and housing, but also the more specific experiences they would get if they came to USciences in the sciences.
“We look forward to identifying specific short-term programs of study that will provide Brazil’s science students with a meaningful U.S. experience,’ said Elliott. “...and to possible post-doctoral, scholar, and scientific exchanges.”
The educators were accompanied by John Matel from the US Embassy Public Affairs Section and André Dunham Maciel Siaines de Castro, the Brazilian Embassy Cultural Attache.
“This meeting opens the door to some very interesting opportunities,” Elliott continued. “Certainly the chance to collaborate internationally in educating the next generation of scientists and healthcare providers is foremost, but of equal importance is the opportunity to support the US-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue that advances bilateral cooperation between the two largest democracies and economies in this hemisphere.”
The U.S. Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue and the resulting Education Joint Action Plan outline a strategy to realize U.S. President Obama’s and Brazilian President Rousseff’s goals to expand academic and research exchanges between the two countries.
“The Brazilian initiative is a natural fit with University of the Sciences’ mission to educate future scientists and healthcare professionals,” said USciences Provost Dr. Russell J. DiGate. “The focus on STEM and the emphasis on undergraduate and professional preparation is something that we have been doing for close to 200 years.”
Philadelphia’s delegation is one of three delegations that traveled across the United States concurrently (on the West Coast, Mid-West, and East Coast) before reconvening in Washington, DC.
For more information about the international academic partnership program, visit the program website at http://www.iie.org/en/Programs/Brazil-Science-Without-Borders and http://www.cienciasemfronteiras.gov.br/web/csf