Dr Martin Robson said of the partnership, 'We have already seen the benefits of the MOU with the visit of Rafael Franca which allowed him to play a significant role during Grand Challenges, providing Exeter Undergraduates with unrivalled insight into border controls and policing in Brazil.' 

Strategy and Security Institute Celebrates New Partnership in Brazil

The Strategy and Security Institute (SSI) have entered into a new relationship with the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), one of Brazil’s foremost academic institutions. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), designed to encourage collaboration between the SSI and UFRGS, was signed in the summer of 2017 and has led to a number of valuable new initiatives.

In particular, the MoU encourages collaboration with UFRGS’ Brazilian Centre for Strategy and International Relations, the first centre exclusively focused on the study and research of international relations in Southern Brazil. It was established in 1999 at the Latin American Advanced Studies Institute (ILEA) of UFRGS. An undergraduate course in International Relations was established in 2004, the best of the country according to the Brazilian Ministry of Education, and a postgraduate programme in International Strategic Studies followed shortly after in 2010. These factors have combined to make UFRGS one of the premier centres for the study of strategy and international relations in Latin America, making them a valuable partner for the SSI’s work on this increasingly important region.

Exeter’s new relationship with UFRGS will encourage joint research projects and exchanges between institutions, focusing on areas of shared expertise.

A number of research and publication activities between UFRGS and the SSI have recently been set in motion. In the summer of 2017, the SSI welcomed our first visiting scholar from UFRGS, Raphael Franca, an officer in the Brazilian Federal Police and current PGR student focusing on border security. Rafael made a significant contribution to teaching on the SSI 2017 Grand Challenge in which 150 interdisciplinary undergraduates complete a group presentation and write a personal ministerial submission. During Grand Challenge week Rafael worked with a number of small groups of University of Exeter students, deploying his academic and practitioner expertise in border security and frontier controls, including working with a group of 10 students who were looking at the future of UK borders post-BREXIT. Dr Martin Robson, Lecturer in Strategic Studies in the SSI and regular collaborator with UFRGS, also hosted a workshop on ‘Latin America and the UK’ to explore areas for further collaboration.

Dr Robson said of the partnership: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity to provide a formal framework to existing collaboration between the SSI and UFRGS. We have already seen the benefits of the MOU with the visit of Rafael Franca which allowed him to play a significant role during Grand Challenges, providing Exeter Undergraduates with unrivalled insight into border controls and policing in Brazil. The visit also allowed the SSI to explore opportunities for collaborative funding bids based around the concepts of borders and frontiers.’

UFRGS also publish Austral: the Brazilian Journal of Strategy & International Relations. Dr Robson is currently working with colleagues from UFRGS on a multitude of security issues related to the South Atlantic. A forthcoming article entitled ‘UK Policy options in the South Atlantic’, accepted for publication in Austral, explores an array of potential scenarios around UK activity in the South Atlantic with a view to suggesting how governments should plan for the future in this region. Dr Robson has also contributed a chapter entitled ‘The UK and Argentina: economic interdependence, informal empire or just good friends?’ to the book The Global South in the South Atlantic: Regional Dynamics, Geopolitics and Maritime Security edited by Professor Érico Duarte from UFRGS to be published by Routledge during 2018.

Date: 5 February 2018

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