Brazil’s new Latin American and global integration universities launched

Brazil’s Senate granted official authorization for the establishment of a new, very different kind of university in Brazil – the Federal University for Latin America Integration, otherwise known as UNILA (…) UNILA is one of three regional integration universities launched by Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2006 to advance Brazil’s interests within the region and globally. The other two university projects are UNILAB, the Afro-Brazilian University of Integration), and UNIAM, the University of Amazonian Integration. These Brazilian initiatives were the latest addition to a rapidly changing higher education landscape around the globe (…) UNILA, UNILAB and UNIAM are aimed at creating a ’supranational’, ‘global’ and ‘regional’ university respectively, drawing upon staff and students from within the wider region, or from across south-south networks (UNILAB) – though each, as I will show below, have distinctive visions and territorial reaches with UNILAB the most global. The objectives of UNILA are to pursue inter-regional trans-disciplinary research and teaching in areas of joint interest of the MERCOSUL member countries (Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay) focusing, for example, upon use of natural resources, trans-border biodiversity, social sciences and linguistic research, international relations as well as relevant disciplines for strategic development. Unlike KAUST (Saudi Arabia’s ‘House of Wisdom’ – the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or KAUST whose model is US-oriented (the MIT of the East, the ‘Stanford by the Seashore’), UNILA’s mission and approach to knowledge is shaped by a distinctive Latin American commitment. Each course has a Patron and a Founder. The first Patrons have been chosen for being Latin American names who have left relevant academic-scientific contributions associated to a field of knowledge , while course founders have been appointed for the high academic prestige in their respective fields of knowledge as well as renowned international competence in their specialities (…) (http://globalhighered.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/new-latin-american-integration-universities-launched/)