On Monday, March 4, Barnard President Debora L. Spar welcomed The Honorable Mauro Vieira, Ambassador of Brazil to the United States, to Barnard’s campus for a conversation on the revolutionary Program “Ciência sem Fronteiras,” the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program. Within this Program, which provides scholarships to Brazilian undergraduate and graduate students in mostly STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), the Brazilian government intends to enable 100,000 of its best students to study abroad at the world’s best universities. Barnard is among the Scientific Mobility Program’s host institutions in the United States.
This event, attended by Barnard and Columbia faculty, students, alumnae, and friends, took place two weeks before Barnard’s fifth annual global symposium, Women Changing Brazil, being held in São Paulo on March 18.
Below, Barnard students Annelise Finney ’15 and Mary Glenn ’13 reflect on the conversation between President Spar and Ambassador Vieira. They are among six Global Symposium Student Fellows selected to attend Women Changing Brazil and facilitate a workshop for high school students in São Paulo.
Annelise Finney is a sophomore majoring in urban studies, with a minor in race and ethnicity. An excerpt:
As Ambassador Vieira pointed out, this program is a practice in humility: it is a government acknowledging that no one country is the best, and every country can greatly benefit from educational interchange with the world. By traveling and studying abroad, students gain the opportunity to break out of the educational styles predominant to their home country, and subsequently learn in new ways in new settings.
Senior Mary Glenn is a Spanish and Latin American studies major, with a minor in human-rights studies.
Listening to Ambassador Vieira talk with President Spar about Brazil’s Scientific Mobility Program, I was struck by his determination and confidence in Brazil’s ongoing efforts and abilities to grow and improve in all sectors, particularly via international collaboration and learning from others. This, above all, stood out to me about the event: that improvement does not happen in a vacuum, and that a diversity of perspectives and partnership will always produce better results—in every field—than isolated, inward-focused initiatives, especially in today’s highly globalized world.