Brazil’s drive to establish a partnership with the United States in the spheres of education, science, technology and innovation will be a key topic of President Dilma Rousseff’s visit to Washington next week, the education minister said Tuesday.
“Cooperation in the areas of education and innovation is now one of the priorities of Brazilian foreign policy,” Aloizio Mercadante told accredited foreign correspondents in Brasilia.
Mercadante said that this priority has been “materialized” in the Science Without Borders program announced by the government last December, which plans to award scholarships to 100,000 Brazilian students to the 50 best universities in the world by 2014.
The program particularly emphasizes the scientific and technological fields, with emphasis on mathematics, engineering, computer science, biology and nanotechnology, as well as other more specific sectors like petroleum, gas and aeronautics.
In all these fields, the United States is a leader and the government of President Barack Obama has said he will cooperate and ease access for Brazilian students to universities in his country, Mercadante said.
According to the minister, an estimated 20,000 Brazilian college students could do postgraduate studies in the United States, or 20 percent of those awarded scholarships, making it Brazil’s chief partner in the Science Without Borders program.
So far this year some 1,500 students in the program have already enrolled in colleges in the United States, one of the first countries that agreed to cooperate with the plan, together with France, Italy, Germany and Russia.
Those topics, along with other plans of cooperation being discussed with the United States in a number of areas of science and technology, will be analyzed during Rousseff’s meeting with Obama next Monday at the White House.
This will be Rousseff’s first state visit to Washington as head of state.
Besides the working session with Obama, her trip will include a visit to Harvard University, which will accept some 2,000 Brazilian graduate students over the next few years.
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