With its growing economy putting it on the map, Brazil has become a country to watch and with which to forge new partnerships. Because of this new economic surge, about 30 university presidents from across Canada recently took a trip to the South American country on what they called an “international education mission.” They crisscrossed the BRIC nation’s south for a week this past month, making their way to São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Campinas, all with the goal of building more partnerships in research, innovation and higher education, making Canadian universities more appealing to Brazilian students, and strengthening research collaboration between universities in Canada and Brazil.
Alfred Jaeger, Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, who has spent extensive time in Brazil working and educating since his first trip down south for a summer job at 23, spoke to The Globe and Mail about what these new partnerships mean for business education in Canada.
You’ve been trying to propel the internationalization of business students at McGill forward. How do you see this partnership between Canada and Brazil helping that effort?
It’s another place to go on exchange and potentially work. Brazil was always a fun country to go to. It was always a country with a lot of potential. But only in the past five years — or maybe 10, max — has it become a country of more economic importance. It’s a large producer of automobiles, it’s a large producer of soybeans, it’s a large producer of agricultural products, and so it’s an important player on the scene. It’s also now self-sufficient in oil and will probably be an oil exporter.
In education — we [Canada]are 15 per cent of the size of Brazil — so there are a lot of potential Brazilians who might want to come here to study. And their universities are good, but they don’t have the history and the quality and the broad base of available programs.
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Originally published on May 29, 2012, in The Globe and Mail.