Brazilian bonds: Memorial explores partnerships during Atlantic premiers' trade mission

Dr. Wilfred Zerbe

Dr. Wilfred Zerbe

Nov. 18, 2013

An Atlantic Canadian trade mission to Brazil could result in increased collaborations between Memorial and universities in that country in the future.

Six representatives from three Memorial campuses joined the Atlantic Premiers Mission to Brazil from Oct. 20-25. The mission focused on industry and education. Sonja Knutson, director, International Centre, says the trip laid the groundwork for future educational partnerships.

“All [of Memorial’s participants] agree that there are significant opportunities for them in each of their respective areas,” she said.

In addition to Ms. Knutson, Memorial’s participants were Dr. Wilfred Zerbe, dean of the Faculty of Business Administration, Dr. Mark Abrahams, dean of the Faculty of Science, Dr. Mary Bluechardt, vice-president (Grenfell Campus), and Paul Brett and Dwight Howse from the Marine Institute (MI). Representing the provincial government was Kevin O’Brien, minister of Advanced Education and Skills.

Dr. Zerbe says the trip offered some good opportunities to build new pathways from Brazilian schools to the business faculty. For example, increasing the number of exchange opportunities for Brazilian and Memorial students and growing the faculty’s two-plus-two programs, whereby students earn degrees from both Memorial and their home institution, are possible options.

“We already have a strong international presence in many Asian countries and are exploring expanding our programming in Europe and South America,” he said. “I’m very pleased with the growth opportunities that are possible for us in Brazil and I look forward to working towards these in the near future.”

The Faculty of Science is looking for growth in research collaborations, particularly in the areas of oil and gas, oceans and mining, and also wants to increase its component of graduate students from the South American country.

At Grenfell, the opportunities are within student and faculty exchanges, English as a second language, environmental policy and tourism studies. At MI, the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) program would allow students from Brazil to complete their second year of diploma studies in St. John’s.

“In Brazil, we see similar industries and similar needs that allow for many research and partnership opportunities in a variety of sectors including oil and gas, ocean technology, mining, aquaculture, forestry, marine science and advanced manufacturing,” Ms. Knutson said.

“The next step is to invite Brazilians involved in some of the top potential opportunities to come up here and visit us and see what we have to offer.”

Susan White-MacPherson