The Brazilian Minister of Education, Tarso Genro, stated yesterday that the summit of Arab and South American countries represents an initial step for the creation of permanent exchange in the area of education.
“There is very little in this sector and the summit may represent the beginning of more planned work, as it is currently erratic,” stated the minister to the Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA).
In the case of Brazil, the idea is, after the summit, to select some Arab countries that may be interested in developing joint projects in the sector. According to Tarso, Tunisia, Syria and Algeria are some of the nations that have already shown interest.
According to the minister, the countries plan to promote university student exchange, focussing on sending students to study at Brazilian engineering schools.
Tarso also stated that there are plans to sponsor the exchange of language teachers, to expand the teaching of Arabic in Brazil and Portuguese in the Arab world.
The proposal for the summit declaration suggests that the countries participating promote “academic and educational cooperation through the concession of scholarships and other activities, like the organization of conferences and seminars about matters of common interest.”
Exchange in the language area is a subject of special interest to the ambassadors based in Brazilian capital Brasília, and has already been under discussion for some time.
In March, the diplomats met with Tarso to propose the expansion of Arabic teaching in Brazilian schools and universities, an idea that was accepted by the Minister.
The matter also attracted the attention of the secretary general of the League of Arab States, Amr Mussa. At the end of last year, he received, at the offices of the organization in Cairo, the vice president of international relations of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB), Helmi Mohammed Ibraim Nasr, to discuss the matter.
An Egyptian who lives in Brazil, Nasr was the director of the oriental language department of the University of São Paulo (USP) and still today, at the age of 82, continues teaching at the university Arabic studies post graduate course. Among other works, he prepared an Arabic-Portuguese dictionary with over 70,000 words.
Nasr suggested to Mussa that in the cultural agreements signed by the Arab countries, a clause be included covering the promotion of the exchange of professors. In a cultural agreement signed between Brazil and Egypt on Monday, the possibility of mechanisms for the exchange of professors was forecasted.
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency