By Eddie North-Hager
University of Southern California (USC) President C. L. Max Nikias is leading a delegation of deans and trustees this week to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, where USC will open its eighth international office. This move will place USC among a small number of prestigious U.S. universities with offices in and official ties to Brazil, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard and Columbia universities.
“The University of Southern California community is eager to build even stronger ties with Brazil and to lay a solid foundation for long-standing, mutually beneficial collaborations,” Nikias said. “Brazil will play a particularly vital role in these partnerships, given its strategic location in the Pacific Rim, and USC’s ambition to attract the world’s most talented and creative students.”
Brazil recently surpassed the United Kingdom as the word’s sixth largest economy. Next year, it will host the World Cup and in 2016, the Summer Olympics. USC currently has more than 500 alumni living and working in Brazil.
“This is an important expansion of our relationship with Brazil, which will lead to increased collaborations between USC and Brazilian researchers,” said Anthony Bailey, vice provost for global initiatives at USC.
The delegation includes Dean James G. Ellis of the USC Marshall School of Business; Dean Jack H. Knott of the USC Price School of Public Policy; Dean Elizabeth M. Daley of the USC School of Cinematic Arts; and Dean Yannis C. Yortsos of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. USC Trustees in attendance include Frank H. Cruz, Edward P. Roski, and his wife, Gayle, David H. Dornsife, and his wife, Dana, and John Mork, and his wife, Julie.
In addition to signing an agreement between the Metropolitan Development secretary of the state of São Paulo and USC Price, the University of São Paulo signed a letter of intent to join the USC-led iPodia Alliance, an international consortium initiated by USC Viterbi that uses high-bandwidth connectivity to create a borderless world-classroom for teachers and learners at leading higher education institutions. This marks the first Latin American participation in iPodia.
In collaboration with the São Paulo Research Foundation, Brazil’s top state-level research foundation, USC will launch its second call for proposals during the visit. The first call for proposals last year resulted in collaborations in the areas of medicine, public policy and dentistry.
During the visit, the USC delegation will meet with the chief secretary of the state of São Paulo; the secretaries of Economic Development, Science and Technology and Metropolitan Development; the rector of the University of São Paulo; the president of the São Paulo Research Foundation; and Brazilian business leaders.
The new USC office in the Vila Olímpia district of São Paulo will work to support the recruitment of outstanding students, delivery of student-learning programs in Brazil for USC students, and the promotion of research collaborations between USC researchers and researchers throughout Brazil. In addition to São Paulo, USC has international offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Mumbai, India, Seoul, South Korea, Shanghai and Taipei, Taiwan.
USC already hosts more international students than any other university in the United States, with more than 9,000 international students representing some 115 countries.
The trip to Brazil expands upon USC’s existing partnerships in the country, such as with the Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil’s top private university, and the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, which provides full scholarships to high-achieving Brazilian undergraduate students for up to one year of study at USC.
“We have situated USC’s first South American office in one of the most important cities in the world,” Bailey said. “The São Paulo office will be a catalyst for the growth of USC partnerships in research and academics as well as for recruiting top Brazilian students to USC in Los Angeles.”