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Cablegate: Ambassador Discusses Education, U.S. Studies in Sao Paulo

VZCZCXRO6020
PP RUEHRG
DE RUEHSO #1083/01 2841457
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111457Z OCT 06
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5892
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6943
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 2176
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 2489
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 1883
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 3059
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0395
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 3168
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 7502
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 2802
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF EDUCATION WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SAO PAULO 001083

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/BSC, WHA/PDA, ECA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OEXP SCUL KPAO PGOV ETRD BR
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES EDUCATION, U.S. STUDIES IN SAO PAULO


-------
SUMMARY
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1. During his September 26-28 visit to Sao Paulo, Ambassador Sobel
held several meetings devoted to cooperation on education. At a
lunch hosted by the Consul General with senior representatives of
several major Sao Paulo universities, the Ambassador heard various
views on Brazilian higher education and discussed ways of fostering
cooperation and partnerships between Brazilian universities and the
USG, as well as the possibility of forming a U.S. Studies Center.
He subsequently met with the international affairs director of one
university which is trying to develop such a Center and discussed
the initiative in more detail. The Ambassador's meeting with
private sector leaders and participation in a USAID project
inauguration are reported in septels. END SUMMARY.

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-----------------------------
LUNCH WITH UNIVERSITY LEADERS
-----------------------------

2. On September 26, the Ambassador and Mrs. Sobel, accompanied by
Consul General, PAO, and PA FSN, had lunch with three university
representatives to discuss ideas for possible cooperation between
the U.S. Embassy and Brazilian institutions of higher education.
The guests were Rector Marcos Macari of Sao Paulo State University
(UNESP), Vice-Rector Pedro Ronzelli Junior of Mackenzie University,
and Renee Zicman, Coordinator of International Relations at the
Catholic University of Sao Paulo (PUC-SP).

3. The Ambassador asked about American Studies at different
Brazilian universities. The Brazilians replied that Brazilian
universities do not have departments and/or professors devoted
exclusively to the study of the U.S. UNESP, UNICAMP and PUC/SP have
had a joint program for the last few years that gives MA degrees in
International Relations. They also mentioned the strong
business/economics departments at Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV), the
University of Sao Paulo, and the Federal University of Rio de
Janeiro's COPPEAD.

4. The Ambassador mentioned that he would like to see consular
junior officers go out in the field and visit universities, where
they could talk to students about U.S. culture, history, politics,
and other issues, and take questions from the students about life in
the U.S. He also highlighted the importance of having U.S.
lecturers, Fulbrighters or others come to Brazilian universities to
promote U.S. studies.

5. The possibility of forming a U.S. Studies Center at an
institution of higher education was discussed. Several years ago,
after arduous work, the Consulate succeeded in establishing a U.S.
studies center at the University of Sao Paulo; however, for a
variety of reasons, a U.S.-style multi-disciplinary area studies
program has not taken hold. A discussion ensued as to where and how
a new U.S. studies center might be established. Former Ambassadors
Rubens Ricupero, Sergio Amaral and Rubens Barbosa are discussing the
possibility of installing a U.S. Studies Center at the Faculdade
Armando Alvaro Penteado (FAAP) (see para 8), another prominent
private university in Sao Paulo. The Brazilians felt that rather
than choosing a university for a home office, a neutral ground
should be identified. (NOTE: the Consulate in Sao Paulo has
established a U.S.-Brazil Studies Center at the University Center of
SENAC, and there is a Fulbright Chair in American Studies at the
Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RJ). END NOTE.)

6. Concerning students and student organizations, the Brazilians
pointed out that Brazilian university student organizations were
much more political than academic, and that if an academic
discussion were to be undertaken with students, it would be more
prudent to choose outstanding student leaders at different
universities rather than working with student organizations.

7. Ambassador Sobel noted out that partnerships between public and
private institutions was a model that has worked very well for
universities in the United States. He also proposed organizing a
special International Visitors program for the rectors of the top
6-7 universities in Sao Paulo. The program would give the rectors
exposure to a number of premier U.S. universities and would also
facilitate student exchanges and other relationships.


SAO PAULO 00001083 002 OF 002


--------------------------------------
SERGIO AMARAL: AMERICAN STUDIES CENTER
--------------------------------------

8. The Ambassador also met with Sergio Amaral, former Ambassador in
London and Paris and current director of International Affairs at
FAAP. Amaral outlined the efforts by FAAP, with support from other
academic and private sector institutions, to develop an American
Studies Center. The Center would invite speakers from the U.S. for
monthly lectures and conferences. Current plans are for an
organizational meeting in November with an inauguration in 2007.
The focus would not be on bilateral relations, but rather on
promoting knowledge about how the U.S. works. The Ambassador
expressed support and said such a Center could be an excellent
resource for major universities in Sao Paulo. He agreed to meet
again with Amaral and others involved in the initiative on a future
visit; Amaral suggested a lunch at FAAP.

9. On other issues, Amaral expressed concern over the prospects for
Brazil to keep its GSP benefits. With respect to the election, he
said that 10 days ago, President Lula was almost guaranteed a
first-round victory, but that the scenario had changed because of
the "dossier" scandal. He believes that now the election will go to
a second round. Although he anticipated that Lula will retain a
strong advantage, he said that many voters are disgruntled by the
barrage of scandals and Lula's repeated professions that he knew
nothing and was betrayed. Amaral's view is that people are in fact
paying attention to the revelations and it may cause some of them to
change their votes. If re-elected, Amaral concluded, Lula will be
debilitated and will have difficulty working with the PMDB, the
centrist party that would most likely be Lula's main coalition
partner in Congress.

10. This cable was coordinated with Embassy Brasilia, and cleared
by Ambassador Sobel.

MCMULLEN

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