Edinburgh University opens Brazil office

Olympic Gold medalist Katherine Grainger and football legend Pele celebrate after Edinburgh University gave the Brazillian an honorary degree. Picture: PA/Sean Dempsey
Olympic Gold medalist Katherine Grainger and football legend Pele celebrate after Edinburgh University gave the Brazillian an honorary degree. Picture: PA/Sean Dempsey
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THERE aren’t many similarities between Scotland’s Capital and Brazil’s largest city.

But Edinburgh University is looking to bring a little samba spirit to the Capital after adding to its “longstanding links” with Latin America by opening a liaison office in São Paulo, Brazil.

The Office of the Americas, which officially opens today, will “aid collaboration” between the university and partners in education, business and government across Latin America.

Edinburgh University is partnering with the Brazilian government through its Science Without Borders initiative, which has a target of welcoming 10,000 Brazilian students to the UK by 2016.

To celebrate the new office, the university is to fund 12 scholarships to support the most talented students from Latin America. The Edinburgh Global Latin America Masters Scholarships are each worth £5000 and will be available for students to study a one year postgraduate Master’s degree in any field.

Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, principal of Edinburgh University, said: “Edinburgh researchers are already working closely with partners across Latin America, helping address global issues such as climate change, health and economic development. The Office of the Americas will help us to extend this important work.”

To coincide with the official opening, the university is taking part in a conference featuring policy makers and leading academics from Edinburgh and Brazil, which will focus on the management of biodiversity, water and energy resources.

Edinburgh University said it had a tradition of “academic interaction” in Latin America across a number of areas, including energy, public health and economics.

Last year Brazilian footballing icon Pelé received an honorary degree from Edinburgh University in recognition of his work for charitable causes.

Brazil’s ambassador to the UK, Roberto Jaguaribe, welcomed the opening of the office, while Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, who was due to attend today’s office launch in São Paulo, said: “The University of Edinburgh’s decision to open the Office of the Americas is very welcome news. As an Edinburgh graduate, I know that the university’s reputation for academic excellence is thoroughly deserved.”

Meanwhile, First Minister Alex Salmond said the Scottish Government was supportive of universities as they work to create partnerships, adding: “I would like to extend my very best wishes to the University of Edinburgh as it builds on its already impressive work in countries such as Brazil, Chile and Mexico.”

DISTANT RELATIONS

São Paulo is home to more than 11 million people, while Edinburgh recently broke the 500,000 mark for the first time.

Football, of course, ranks highly with the inhabitants of both cities, the major teams in São Paulo are known as the Iron Trio: Corinthians, Palmeiras and São Paulo FC.

São Paulo has no trams – residents rely upon three rapid transport systems: the underground rail or metro; a suburban rail system and a fast-lane bus system called Passa Rápido.

F1 drivers Ayrton Senna, Rubens Barrichello, Emerson Fittipaldi and Felipe Massa were born in São Paulo