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Cliona_BH_FAUBAI2016The Talloires Network strengthened and forged new relationships with Brazilian and other Latin American partners at FAUBAI2016. FAUBAI, the first and only organization of its kind in Brazil, is an association of higher education institutions with a mission to promote internationalization and collaboration with institutions abroad.

Cliona_BH_FAUBAI2016Over the course of 5 days, 600 participants from 27 countries convened in Fortaleza, Ceará Brazil to discuss issues relating to social responsibility in the internationalization of higher education. The conference provided participants the opportunity to learn about the sociopolitical Brazilian environment, engage in thoughtful dialogue and ask questions such as: In this period of rapid globalization and global political unrest, how can the Global South position itself as a leader in creating change? How can science and technology meet the needs of the market but also meet the needs of those most disadvantaged in an equitable way? How can institutions learn from students who have gone abroad and those that come from underserved communities? How can the voices of minorities be included in the internationalization strategies?

The public higher education system in Brazil is arguably one of the strongest in Latin America. In 2011, President Obama visited Brazil and declared it to be a stronghold of democracy and education in the region. Since then, the Brazilian government, under President Dilma Rouseff, responded by committing to send and fund 100,000 of its brightest STEM students to higher education institutions abroad in order to be trained. The Ciência Sem Fronteiras (“Science Without Borders”) program has rapidly internationalized the country’s higher education system.

Since 2011, the majority of the Science without Borders students have returned to their home country to a crippling economy. Among growing corruption scandals affecting the Brazilian federal government, many have been unable to find employment. The societal unrest in the country has forced institutions of higher education to question their social role in a highly globalized environment.

Talloires Network Program Administrator Brianda Hernandez presented alongside Cliona Maher, from Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico and University College Cork, Ireland. They focused on examples of “global citizenship” from Talloires Network member universities and programs. The presentation showcased initiatives from the Talloires Network MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship winners and the University Volunteers Program students funded by Santander Bank. It also underscored the importance of civic engagement and collaboration across borders to reach the service and research goals of higher education institutions.