UGA-Minas Gerais partnership receives NAFSA 2018 Spotlight Award

photo of students holding Brazilian and American flags

PFP.jpgBuilding on interdisciplinary collaborations across campus made possible through the Portuguese Flagship Program, UGA is one of eight universities nationwide to be recognized for its exemplary international programs and partnerships by NAFSA, a nonprofit association dedicated to international education:

The university’s network of partnerships within the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais received NAFSA’s 2018 Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award, which is named after the late Illinois senator who was a strong advocate for international education and cross-cultural learning.

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Through the partnership, nearly 20 collaborative research projects have been identified in fields ranging from human health to linguistics and agriculture. Courtney Murdock, assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Odum School of Ecology and the College of Veterinary Medicine, is working with Tiago Mendes from the Federal University of Viçosa to study how temperature impacts the spread of the Zika virus among disease-carrying mosquitos. Pilar Chamorro Fernandez, an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the departments of linguistics and Romance languages in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has partnered with Fábio Duarte from the Federal University of Minas Gerais to document and develop educational tools with Tentehára indigenous communities to preserve their native language.

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Graduate and undergraduate students gain invaluable experience working alongside these faculty members, and the UGA-Minas Gerais partnership builds on UGA’s Portuguese Flagship Program, which is funded through the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Security

Education Program and is the nation’s only language flagship program focused on Portuguese.

To date, more than 30 undergraduate students have studied or interned in Minas Gerais through the Portuguese Flagship Program.

Tremendous groundwork built by visionary faculty and administrators creating broad opportunities for students. A kind of academic-entrepreneurialism all its own, enterprising these opportunities and sustainable support for them that enhances existing government programs attracts great students with scholarship and international research opportunities. Congratulations to the Portuguese Flagship Program, students, and faculty from around campus who are leading the way.

Image: The fifth cohort of PFP students arrived in Brazil in February, 2017 for their Capstone Year, Portuguese Flagship Program