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Last modified: Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IU agreements in Brazil will foster new faculty and student exchanges, research opportunities

Nov. 7, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO AND SÃO PAULO, Brazil -- Indiana University has entered into the first of several new partnership agreements with Brazil's leading academic institutions, which will result in increased study abroad opportunities for IU students and collaborative research possibilities for faculty in one of the world's fastest growing emerging economies.

Brazilian Academy of Letters

During Tuesday's agreement signing ceremony at the Brazilian Academy of Letters, IU President Michael McRobbie presented the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion to Nelson Pereira dos Santos.

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On Tuesday, Nov. 6, as part of IU President Michael A. McRobbie's eight-day trip to South America -- the first by a sitting IU president in nearly 40 years and the first to Brazil in 70 years -- the university signed an agreement with the Brazilian Academy of Letters, a distinguished literary society and the foremost institution devoted to the Portuguese language in the world. Established at the end of the 19th century, the academy currently includes only 40 members who have published major works or books of literary, cultural or social value. It also manages one of the largest public libraries in Rio de Janeiro, which includes an extensive collection of Brazil's most important artistic works and a major multimedia center.

This morning, McRobbie will sign an agreement with the University of São Paulo, the top-ranked public university in Brazil and the most highly ranked university in Latin America. The university, with approximately 90,000 students enrolled on 11 campuses, is particularly strong in business and economics, languages, public health and medicine, communications, science and the arts and humanities, among other areas. It also manages multiple museums, including one of the most renowned modern and contemporary art galleries in Latin America.

While in Brazil this week, McRobbie will sign a new agreement with the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), a major center of academic research in Brazil that includes the largest public hospital in the greater São Paulo region. In addition to the medical sciences, UNICAMP is one of Brazil's top research institutions in technology and the natural sciences. Additionally, IU will meet with Fundação Gutulio Vargas (FGV), a higher education institute considered one of Latin America's top policymaker think tanks, to advance a new partnership with the IU Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Ind. The agreements with the institute's law schools in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro call specifically for exchanges in the area of human rights.

"These partnerships, with several of South America's premier educational institutions, reflect Indiana University's strong commitment to increasing the global competencies of our students, engaging in education and research collaborations within one of the world's most vital economic regions and generating significant opportunities for our new School of Global and International Studies and other programs at IU," McRobbie said. "All of us at IU look forward to the scholarly exchanges and research efforts that will result from these partnerships in the coming years."

During Tuesday's agreement signing ceremony at the Brazilian Academy of Letters, McRobbie presented the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion to Brazilian Academy of Letters member and legendary filmmaker Nelson Pereira dos Santos. The medallion is given to individuals who have achieved a level of distinction in public office or service and have exemplified the values of IU.

In his official remarks, McRobbie described dos Santos' films as "among Brazil's most socially important and artistically engaging cinematic works." In April 2013, dos Santos, who helped to establish the first film studies program in Brazil at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF), will visit the IU Bloomington campus as part of the IU Cinema's partial retrospective of his films.

On Tuesday morning, McRobbie met with faculty and staff at UFF, one of four federally funded public universities in greater Rio de Janeiro with strengths in literature, languages, film studies, social sciences and natural sciences. In addition to its primary campus in Niterói, located across the Guanabara Bay from Rio de Janeiro, UFF operates a community outreach center in the Amazonian state of Pará.

Later this evening, McRobbie will inaugurate a new IU alumni chapter at a special event in São Paulo. IU has more than 700 Brazilian alumni as well as a Brazilian Studies Program and a Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, two of 11 area studies programs at IU funded by the U.S. Department for Education.

IU also has extensive library collections, including the Lilly Library's sizeable collection of Brazilian materials, and renowned research institutes for the Latin American region.

Daily blog entries from the IU trip, which also includes travel to Argentina and Chile, are being prepared by Shawn Conner, associate director of international partnerships at IU, and are available in the IU News Room section of the university's website and on the website for the Office of the President.