Yesterday afternoon President McRobbie launched the IU Alumni Association chapter for Chile at the Santa Carolina Winery in Santiago. Patricio Valdes (MBA ’01), export director for the winery, generously assisted with the coordination of the alumni gathering. Penelope Knuth (BM ’77), head of the viola department at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile will serve as the president of the newly inaugurated chapter. View event photos >
Earlier today President McRobbie met with several administrative leaders at Universidad de Chile, one of Chile’s top institutions of higher education. Rector Víctor Pérez Vera received the IU delegation at the university’s Andres Bello campus, and he and McRobbie briefly discussed the goals and strategies for internationalization of U de Chile and IU. The delegation then met with Pia Lombardo, Director of International Relations, to continue the conversation in greater detail about specific areas of collaboration that our institutions might consider, specifically in the areas of business, informatics, and international studies. Some potential activities might include exchanges of faculty and students, short courses, customized academic programs, and collaborative research.
To explore two of these academic areas in depth, McRobbie met with the School of Engineering and Science Dean Francisco Brieva and Director of International Affairs Patricio Poblete. McRobbie outlined IU’s strengths in information technology and outstanding programs in the School of Informatics and Computing. With several top academic programs in Chile, U de Chile’s School of Engineering and Science does share many commonalities with IU, presenting potential collaborative opportunities that will be explored further in the coming months. Afterward, McRobbie met with Associate Dean Enrique Manzur and Director of International Affairs Erich Spencer at the School of Economics and Business. The School has a diverse portfolio of degree types tailored to meet the needs of the Chilean market, and the faculty has broad expertise and an impressive body of research. Beyond the potential for faculty exchanges, the School’s growing list of business courses taught in English could be perfect for exchange students: they would be able to take some courses in Spanish alongside some courses in English, a scenario that can help students cope with the stress of coursework in a foreign environment with different expectations and teaching styles. McRobbie and Manzur agreed that both IU and the School would continue the conversation over the coming months about exchange possibilities.
To close out the trip to South America, President McRobbie signed an agreement with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), considered one of Latin America’s best universities. Before the signing, he and Dr. Ignacio Sánchez Díaz talked about the specific areas of academic strengths at IU and PUC. Both universities will quickly move forward to establish an exchange program for faculty and students in Communications, and additional possibilities for collaborative activities will be explored in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
Earlier today President McRobbie and the members of the IU delegation braved pouring rains and flooded streets to visit two high-caliber institutions of higher education in the greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area: Universidad Nacional de La Plata and Universidad Austral. Both meetings were exploratory in nature, a simple introduction of our institutions and brief conversation about areas of mutual interest.
The Universidad Nacional de La Plata ranks among the top public universities in Argentina and has a Museum, considered to be among the best in the world, with millions of important artifacts from the region. President McRobbie is pictured (right) with Vice President Armando Eduardo De Giusti and Dean of Economic Sciences Martín López Armengol.
Universidad Austral, located on the opposite side of Buenos Aires in Rosario, graciously hosted President McRobbie and the delegation for lunch, and both Universidad Austral and Indiana University spoke after lunch about potential areas of collaboration, particularly with their tech park and medical school.
This evening President McRobbie inaugurated the IU Alumni Association’s Argentina chapter. The chapter’s first leader, business professor Gabriel Lopez, proudly accepted the plaque announcing the chapter’s inauguration. View photos >
Dr. Fernando Ferreira Costa, President of the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), welcomed President McRobbie and the members of the IU delegation to their flagship campus in Campinas, a city of more than one million people located two hours outside the city of São Paulo. UNICAMP, the second highest ranked university in Brazil and one of Latin America’s leaders in academic research, has particular strengths in the sciences, technology, and engineering. After Costa’s presentation on the university’s fields of study and research foci, he and McRobbie discussed several areas of potential collaboration. To advance a partnership between IU and UNICAMP, Costa and McRobbie signed a letter of intent, with the next step to sign an agreement of friendship and cooperation in the coming few weeks.
At his stops in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, President McRobbie met with officials from the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) Schools of Law. Faculty members from the IU Maurer School of Law have been working closely with their colleagues at FGV for more than a year, and the schools will soon finalize an agreement for faculty exchanges. IU Professor Christiana Ochoa (right), whose research focuses on human rights law, has led the efforts to establish this institutional relationship.
FGV is a private higher education system with the best business schools in Latin America. In 2005, the institution opened new law schools in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and both schools are already considered to be among the best in Latin America because of the research productivity and teaching caliber of the faculty.
More than 50 alumni and friends of IU gathered together at the Figueira Rubiyat restaurant to celebrate the launch of the IU Alumni Association’s first-ever Brazilian chapter. Patricia Volpi Panteado (MBA ’01) will serve as chapter president. At the dinner, McRobbie talked about IU’s goals for the trip to South America, and he expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome that Brazilians have provided throughout the trip. View photos >
Indiana University’s reach in Brazil extends beyond connections with academic institutions, as President McRobbie’s visit to the Instituto Baccarelli demonstrated. Professor Arnaldo Cohen, a world-renowned pianist at the IU Jacobs School of Music, has previously worked with students at the institute, and Joshua Bell has also performed alongside the institute’s orchestra.
What McRobbie witnessed today is the significant role that the institute plays in the lives of children who live in Heliópolis, a favela (slum) that has slowly been improving over the past few years with upgrades to basic infrastructure and special projects such as Ruy Ohtake‘s design of new community centers.
The institute, started in 1996 by musician Silvio Baccarelli in response to a devastating fire in the favela, reaches more than a 1400 young people over the age of seven each year through music education programs. For the youngest participants, instruction focuses on strengthening hand-eye coordination, and for older participants there are opportunities to sing in choirs, take master classes, and perform in the symphony orchestra. Baccarelli’s goal was to ease the suffering of the young residents of Heliópolis, with the understanding that giving a young person a hand up would also help their entire family.
Below are selected photos from McRobbie’s visit to the institute. The managers of the institute graciously gathered together the students to perform for McRobbie and the IU delegation. Additional photos are also available on Flickr.
Earlier today, President McRobbie signed an agreement with University of São Paulo (USP) to establish ties of cooperation and friendship. USP and IU have previously exchanged faculty and students in several areas of music, and IU’s Kelley School of Business is in the process of finalizing a faculty exchange agreement with USP’s Faculty of Economics and Administration.
The agreement signals the start of a formal partnership that will significantly expand student and faculty exchange opportunities between USP and IU. Prior to the signing ceremony, McRobbie met with Dr. Adnei Melges de Andrade, Executive Vice Rector for International Relations, to talk about other areas of potential collaboration. IU and USP will continue to discuss an exchange agreement that would be open to selected faculty and students across the IU system.
This renewed relationship with USP, elevated to a university-to-university partnership, will significantly expand options for the IU academic community in Brazil. USP, consistently ranked among the top universities in Latin America and considered the most prestigious university in Brazil, will open access to high-caliber collaborative research possibilities and high-quality learning experiences.
Earlier today, Indiana University became the first U.S. institution of higher education to sign an agreement establishing ties with the renowned Academia Brasileira de Letras (Brazilian Academy of Letters), a distinguished literary society and the foremost institution devoted to the Portuguese language in the world. The agreement formalizes an exchange of Academy members and IU researchers. It also broadens access to significant research collections at both institutions, and for exchange participants, it strengthens access to communities of highly-engaged academicians, researchers, and intellectuals. Ana Maria Machado, current President of the Academy, expressed her gratitude for President McRobbie’s support of this important new endeavor for the Academy.
At the signing ceremony, McRobbie recognized legendary filmmaker and Academy member Nelson Pereira dos Santos with the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion. The medallion is given to individuals who have achieved a level of distinction in public office or service and have exemplified to values of IU.
This evening, President McRobbie and the members of the IU delegation attended a reception to celebrate the signing of the Academy agreement at the Casarão (grand home) of famous journalist Austregésilo de Athayde. Coordinated by past president Cicero Sandroni and his wife Laura, the event granted McRobbie the unique opportunity to meet and speak with several of Brazil’s foremost writers, university leaders, and intellectuals.
The partnership with the Academy was made possible by IU Professor Darlene Sadlier, Director of the Portuguese Program and Professor of Spanish and Portuguese. Sadlier has long-standing professional relationships with several Academy members, and her impressive body of scholarship, which includes the seminal full critical discussion of the films of Nelson Pereira dos Santos in English, positions her among the top American scholars on Brazilian cultural studies. Sadlier joined the IU delegation in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and she will remain in Brazil for several weeks to deliver talks on her upcoming book Americans All: Good Neighbor Cultural Diplomacy in World War II and the recently released translation into Portuguese of her book on Nelson Pereira dos Santos.
President McRobbie’s trip across South America officially began this morning in Brasilia, the capital and seat of the federal government of Brazil. We chose to start in Brasilia for one specific purpose: to gain a better understanding of the higher education environment and the government’s new programs to incentivize student and faculty mobility between the U.S. and Brazil.
In our first meeting of the day, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon contextualized some of the challenges that Brazil will face in the coming years as it continues to rapidly progress. Unlike other developing countries, Brazil has the significant benefit of internal social stability and lack of threats regionally and internationally. Infrastructure and education, however, are two areas of particular weakness that government officials will need to address in the coming years to ensure continued growth and opportunities for its citizens. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has already started to take some initial steps toward improving higher education with strategic investments in new higher education initiatives. Among these is the Brazil Science Mobility Program (formerly Science without Borders), a public-private partnership that will fund 101,000 students from the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines to study in another country for one year. The program has also allocated funds to support the mobility of doctoral students, researchers, and professors. The goal of the program, as Ambassador Shannon explained, is to promote change within higher education: when students and faculty members return to Brazil, they will bring with them new ways of thinking about curricula, pedagogy, research, facilities, administrative structures, and perhaps most importantly, the important role of international study in the preparation of Brazil’s future professionals and leaders.
Later in the morning, President McRobbie met with Dr. Denise Neddermeyer, Director of International Affairs of CAPES, a national foundation for the development of highly trained personnel, linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Education. Dr. Neddermeyer explained in greater detail the various components of the Brazil Science Mobility Program, including the often-neglected opportunity for non-Brazilian professors and researchers to apply for funding through CAPES to spend time conducting research or teaching at an institution of higher education in Brazil. The conversation also focused on the continued issue of English language proficiency for students in the program who do not meet the minimum qualifications for admission to universities abroad. President McRobbie and Vice President Zaret talked about IU’s expertise in the area of second language acquisition and shared that they would explore the potential participation of IU to assist in this area as part of the recently signed agreement between CAPES and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), of which IU is a member. Beyond the Science Mobility Program, Dr. Neddermeyer also talked about other funding opportunities on the horizon to support mobility of Brazilian students in the creative industries, an important initiative to boost the skills of young professionals to meet the country’s needs of the 21st century.
As we move on to Rio de Janeiro this evening, we will transition to meetings on Tuesday with the Fluminense Federal University and FGV, as well as one particularly significant event: the signing of an agreement with the prestigious Brazilian Academy of Letters.
IU’s Office of the Vice President for International Affairs (OVPIA) coordinates the majority of Presidential trips abroad, assisted by the IU Alumni Association to plan events for alumni in selected cities that the President will be visiting. Since the trips typically involve meetings with university administrators, ambassadors, and other public and private sector officials, OVPIA staff begin the complex work of building a schedule that advances IU’s strategic international goals and objectives. In many cases, this entails multiple meetings with faculty across the IU system to assess interest in new and existing partnerships in the target countries, months of negotiation on new university-to-university partnership agreements, and finally logistical juggling to accommodate all of the necessary meetings in a tight timeframe. With such small windows of time available for international travel, it is essential that the itinerary maximize the President’s opportunities to meet with key constituents.
Because the Presidential travel schedule each year is limited, OVPIA staff often arrive early or extend their trip a few days after the departure of the President back to the U.S. On this particular trip, Vice President David Zaret visited the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Indiana’s sister state.
The visit included a meeting with a dozen faculty members of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Among Brazil’s top-ranked federal universities, UFRGS has expressed interest in several areas of collaboration, including health management, public health and epidemiology, leadership development, entrepreneurship, informatics, computing, and international studies. To provide some perspective on the partnership development process, the conversation about this potential collaboration began during my visit to UFRGS in April, and over the subsequent months, I continued to correspond with colleagues both in international affairs and in academic units to define in greater detail the parameters of our follow-up meeting. With concrete next steps defined in that meeting, OVPIA now has one of the more challenging tasks: connecting the appropriate faculty members at IU and UFRGS to determine if collaboration – on research, teaching, institutional development projects, or other activities – is possible. This part of the partnership development process can take months, sometimes years, and requires significant, continuous communication with the parties as specific areas of collaboration emerge.
Beyond the meeting with UFRGS, the Partners of the Americas office in Indianapolis facilitated some additional meetings significant for both IU and the State of Indiana. One such meeting was with Parceiros Voluntarios, a non-profit agency that works closely with volunteer organizations throughout Rio Grande do Sul (in more than 50 cities across the sprawling state) to build their internal leadership capacity, improve their operational effectiveness, and strengthen their ability to recruit and retain volunteers. A representative of Parceiros Voluntarios will participate in one of the IU School of Philanthropy‘s seminars in early 2013, and IU sees a potential collaboration with the agency for purposes of academic research and experiential learning opportunities for students.
With two and a half days of meetings in Porto Alegre, OVPIA was already busy in Brazil, before the arrival of President McRobbie, to push forward with the important foundational work necessary to open the door to new and exciting opportunities.