Argentina mission visits UNE

Published 22 August 2012

Agriculture, Information Technology and medical training were the key areas on the agenda this week when the Argentina mission to Australia visited the University of New England.

UNE Vice-Chancellor Jim Barber said the international delegation  was in Australia to build closer ties and investigate possible collaborations between the two countries’ tertiary sectors.

“South America is an emerging market for Australia and we believe the shared interests of our countries could benefit from working together,” he said.

Professor Barber accompanied the mission to Canberra where meetings were held with the Ambassador of Argentina in Australia, Mr. Pedro Villagra Delgado, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy and Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations Chris  Evans.

 “One of the projects discussed at the Canberra meetings was connecting Australian and Argentinean schools and universities to promote agriculture as a career path for students.

“UNE is ideally placed for this as we have access to the National Broadband Network and have one of the best agricultural courses in the country,” Professor Barber said.  

The Australian organizer of the mission, UNE’s Pro Vice- Chancellor of The Professions, Victor Minichiello, said agriculture has played and continues to play a key role in the development of the economies of both Australia and Argentina.

 “Both countries share similar climates in the Southern Hemisphere and have large cattle and sheep industries.

“The livestock production systems are similar and as a result the research, development and education in animal science can be readily exchanged between the two countries,” Professor Minichiello said.   

“During their visit to UNE, the delegation visited and took a great interest in UNE’s SmartFarm NBN Project, a program assisting farmers to better manage their farms and livestock using modern communication and monitoring technologies.

“In addition, we discussed the possibility of Argentina joining the UNE-UC Irvine medical simulation collaboration so that students and medical colleagues can learn from each other using virtual learning classroom connections, and the joint development of courseware to support global teaching opportunities in areas such as occupational therapy and Spanish.”

The Argentina Coordinator of the mission from the Universidad de Quilmes Juan Luis Merega  said both countries faced similar issues in relation to agriculture and it was good to see first-hand the opportunities for collaboration with UNE.

“There are about 200 students from Argentina currently studying in Australia and we believe greater collaborations between the two countries will increase the numbers of students travelling between the two countries for educational exchanges.”

Mr Merega was joined on the mission by colleagues from Univerisdad Nacional del Litoral and Universidad Nacional del Sur.

Eight Australian Institutions participated in the Argentina mission. These included the Universities of Sydney, Western Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne, Victoria University, Swinburne University, La Trobe University, and CSIRO. 

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