ORT Uruguay bridges Latin America and Australia

ORT Uruguay’s Australian Studies Centre has been hailed for boosting cooperation between Australian and Latin American universities.

Dean School of Management and Social Sciences, Gaston Labadie, Australian Senate President Stephen Parry, Australian Ambassador to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, Noel Campbell, Vice Rector Julio Fernández, Executive Advisory Board Member of the Australian Studies Centre Australia’s Honorary Consul in Montevideo, Alfredo Taullard.

Australia’s Senate President, Stephen Parry, was visibly impressed when he visited the Studies Centre – the first of its kind on the continent – this week and stressed its significance.

And he’s not the only one to have done so.

When the Studies Centre was formally opened, Shannon Powell, Senior Trade Commissioner for Austrade, which supports and promotes Australian exports, said: “Education is undoubtedly an essential part of the bilateral relationship between Australia and Uruguay. And this school marks the milestone in Australia’s relationship not only with Uruguay, but also with the region.”

The Studies Centre is partially funded by Australian company Petrel Energy Ltd, which holds extensive oil and gas exploration leases in Uruguay.

“Given our industry is continually at the forefront of technological advances it is important to recognize that education is critical to this continuing and we see this as one way, an initial step, to supporting this information exchange in Uruguay. For this to be successful requires cooperation at numerous levels and we see a studies centre of this type as an initial way of contributing to this process,” Petrel’s Managing Director, David Casey, said.

Strengthening links

The Australian Studies Centre aims to strengthen links between Uruguay and Australia by promoting faculty and student exchange programmes, developing course on topics relevant to both countries, and collaborating with trade organisations and government.

Australia’s Deakin University, which is ranked among the top two per cent of universities in the world, has established a regional office at the Studies Centre to explore research opportunities and serve as an incubator of ideas, mobility and partnerships with Uruguay and Latin America.

Professor Colin Barrow, Chair of Biotechnology and Director of the Centre for Chemistry and Biotechnology at Deakin University, has just spent a week at the Studies Centre. While there he discussed with Dr Lorena Betancor, researcher at Universidad ORT Uruguay’s Research and Innovation Biotechnology Centre, the possibility of joint research and a common co-directed PhD programme between the two universities.