Though cut off from the rest of the world by the Andes mountains, the Pacific Ocean and the Atacama Desert, Chile is increasingly becoming interconnected in education and research with some of the globe’s leading institutions.
In the same week that Columbia University opened its new Global Center in Santiago and an international consortium of the research institutes began construction on a cutting-edge observatory in northern Chile, the University of Southern California (USC) announced its plans to partner with the Chilean Ministry of Education (Mineduc) to bring more Chilean doctoral students to “the Golden State” of California.
Under the agreement, which was modeled on a similar deal struck with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and will take effect as of next year, USC will pay the tuition and living stipends of accepted Chilean students, while Mineduc will provide the necessary travel support.
The agreement will allow Chile’s brightest minds the opportunity to access some of the best research facilities and networking opportunities in the world.
“We are excited to partner with the University of Southern California, one of the world’s top universities, to support students from Chile as they continue to pursue their ideas and research,” said Denise Saint-Jean, program director of the Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research, which will allocate the fellowships.
For USC, the agreement will help diversify its global perspectives – the university currently has the largest number of international students of any in the United States, but of its approximately 4,800 international graduate students, only seven are Chilean.
“It [the agreement] is an important component in our efforts to continue to broaden the geographic and cultural diversity of our graduate student body and the global nature of our research portfolio,” said Anthony Bailey, associate provost for global initiatives at USC.
Positioned on the Pacific coast and the southern border of the United States, USC has sought to strengthen relations within the Pacific Rim, as well as within Latin America.
Bailey said these integration campaigns, combined with many economic and geographic similarities between the two states and Chile’s booming economy, were the main reasons that compelled USC to strike the deal.
“Chile has the most developed economy in the region,” Bailey said. “This fellowship program will help support outstanding doctorate students from Chile as we work together to meet the world’s most pressing challenges.”
Natural resource management, global trade and disaster mitigation are expected to form some of the key points of collaboration.