In my last Friends of UA letter, I wrote about the importance of collaboration as we engage the University of Arizona's students to succeed in the 21st century. Recently, I have been thinking about how various forms of collaboration also are essential to the way the University creates positive impact in our local communities and on a global scale.
Global partnerships, in particular, are a source of absolutely vital impact, and they depend greatly on collaborative work. Many wonderful worldwide events have recently taken place at the University. The UA Office of Global Initiatives hosted Global Partner Day on May 27, in which representatives from universities all over the world gathered to learn more about the UA and opportunities the students have available here. Another exciting event was the international youth summit on environmental challenges that took place May 19-21 at Biosphere 2. Among the speakers were Alejandro Toledo, former president of Peru, Christine Harada, chief sustainability officer for the Obama administration, and Joaquin Ruiz, dean of the UA College of Science.
However, our partnerships move us far beyond what takes place just in our local community. In light of our 152nd commencement ceremony in May, I want to point out how our alumni are essential to building the partnerships we have all across the world. With students graduating into a global workforce and economy and facing global challenges, the UA's position as a leader in transnational research and teaching is crucial. Key to this leadership are the ways that the University has worked to engage partners around the world and to adapt internally so that these relationships are true two-way partnerships that allow the University to learn from our efforts in other countries, whether they be with our regional neighbors or on the other side of the world.
For example, one of our UA grads, the mayor of Fortaleza, Brazil — in that country's northeastern region state of Ceará — partnered with the UA's department of Management Information Systems on a Smart Cities project that paired UA experts with Fortaleza's Department of Urban Transportation and Mobility and the University of Fortaleza on a public transportation initiative. Today, the UA has eight active institutional partnerships with universities across Brazil, and we are proud to have two Study Abroad programs in Fortaleza. I encourage you to read this month's insert to learn more about some of the amazing opportunities the UA has to offer with our partners in Brazil.
The UA also has incredible partnerships like this throughout the world. For instance, during the January 2016 reunion of UA alumni from the GCC nations — held at the UA's home in Tucson — we had several exciting developments, including an agreement between the Eller Executive training program and Dubai Ports World, and another that the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences entered with Emirates Group Security. In addition, several new potential partnerships emerged or developed with the United Arab Emirates space agency, the College of Pharmacy and the UAE Ministry of Health, and support for (and the potential to expand) the Arabic Flagship Program in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies.
Closer to home, the UA's Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture — a public-private partnership between the UA and the desert agricultural industry — and the Yuma Agricultural Center have also made important headway into the mitigation of plant pests and diseases. Much of the UA's research and industry partnerships in Yuma go into assuring food safety for agricultural products, and this is an important area of impact of which we are very proud. Finally, the UA has also recently partnered with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to lead a new Mexico Academic Mobility Assessment Committee to encourage greater partnership with peer institutions in a nation that should be one of our closest academic allies. I encourage you to read more about this and other astounding accomplishments in my recent blog post.
Thank you for your continued support.
Ann Weaver Hart President The University of Arizona