NORMAN, Okla. – Months after the University of Oklahoma announced that it was planning to close a study center in Brazil, university officials announced they plan to still offer students a chance to learn more about the region.
In January, then-OU President James Gallogly approved a few changes to the David L. Boren College of International Studies. One of those changes was to close the university’s study center in Rio de Janeiro in order to save $646,000.
OU officials confirmed to News 4 that although the study center in Rio de Janerio will remain closed, a new program is being launched on the Norman campus.
A Center for Brazil Studies is being launched within the College of International Studies. Organizers say the center will partner with Brazilian institutions to provide OU students with an array of teaching and research opportunities.
“This focus speaks to the challenges Brazil has faced throughout its history and as we speak,” said Michelle Morais, International Studies assistant professor.
“There is no question about Brazil’s richness and diversity in terms of natural resources, but staggering inequality and authoritarianism make it always be seen as ‘the country of the future.’ We want to understand what is needed for that future to come,” added Fabio de Sa e Silva, who also is the holder of the College’s Wick Cary Professorship in Brazilian Studies.
Organizers say the center hopes to increase the presence of Brazilian academics and professionals at OU, while also encouraging study aboard opportunities.
The center also plans to design large research projects and seek grants to contribute to overall plans for the College of International Studies.