RIO DE JANEIRO – President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Friday that two of the 16 universities now under construction in Brazil will be no-tuition institutions open to students from other Latin American countries and African nations.
“We’re building a university for Latin America, which will have students and professors from Brazil and all the other Latin American countries, so there’s a good mixture from all Latin America and we do away with borders,” Lula said in a speech during a public ceremony in the northeastern state of Sergipe.
He was referring to the Federal University for Latin American Integration, or Unila, a long-standing project of Lula’s to promote closer regional ties that is already in under way in Foz do Iguaçu, which lies where the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina meet.
Unila is intended to accommodate some 10,000 students, half of whom are Brazilian and the other half from other Latin American countries, and will offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs both in Spanish and Portuguese.
As part of that initiative, the Education Ministry says it plans to hire some 500 professors – both Brazilian and from neighboring countries – who are specialists in areas that can serve to promote regional integration.
“We’re also building a university in the city of Redencao in (the northeastern state of) Ceara, where the first slave release occurred, and which will be a university that will have half Brazilian students and the other half from the African continent,” the president added.
The universities will provide a chance for Brazilians to learn about the history, culture and science of other Latin American and African countries, and for students from other countries to learn about Brazil, he said.
“We’re promoting ... integration through the education of students from all Latin America,” Lula said in the speech, which he gave during the inauguration of a health-sciences campus at the Federal University of Sergipe. EFE