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ECU signs pact with Uruguay

GREENVILLE, NC   (May 28, 2004)   —   The N.C. Agromedicine Institute at East Carolina University on Thursday established an institutional relationship with BIO Uruguay, a research and training institute in rural Uruguay.

The newly formed partnership creates inroads into one of the most pristine and unvisited areas of South America, enabling students and professors from ECU, NC State and NC A&T State University to study and conduct research at BIO Uruguay. Specializing in agro-ecology and organic farming, the South American institute will tailor a variety of study programs to the interests and needs of each researcher and student.

Potential research topics are student-driven and are from a wide range, including organic farming, agro-ecology, sociology, anthropology, photography and Spanish language.

"This institutional relationship represents opportunity, one more place to study and conduct research," said John Sabella, the interim director of the N.C. Agromedicine institute.

BIO Uruguay is a non-profit institute that collaborates with universities in Uruguay and throughout the world. The Agromedicine institute, located in Greenville, aims to improve health and safety in agriculture, forestry and fishing through research, education and outreach.

The partnership between the two institutions stems from a memorandum of understanding, signed by UNC President Molly Broad and President and Jorge Batlle of Uruguay, in 1999. The document confirms an interest in an international partnership between Uruguay and the University of North Carolina system. The promotion of international relations is one of six strategic directions adopted by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors in 2002.

In May, Dr. Alda Rodriguez, the co-founder and Director for Research and Training at BIO Uruguay, met with East Carolina University officials and students and other members of the UNC system to discuss details of a faculty and student exchange program and to generate further ties between North Carolina and Uruguay.

Rodriquez stressed flexibility of study as one of the main lures of the program.

"It all depends on what the students want to research," she said. "It depends on what they want to do and we shape the program around that. The programs are flexible to fit students' needs."

Rodriguez said that students and researchers who come to BIO Uruguay typically choose a topic of study. BIO Uruguay staff works with the researchers to construct a plan of study and then provides resources and contact information to facilitate that study.


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481