During Spring break six NOVA faculty, provosts and administrators traveled to Brazil to advance a newly established partnerships with the Federal Institute of Science and Technology in Acre, Brazil (IFAC). An MOU was signed with IFAC as a result of the English teacher training programs NOVA has been hosting for the past two years. In March 2017, a team from Acre visited NOVA and an MOU was signed between Dr. Ralls and Dr. Rosana Cavalcante, Rector of IF-Acre formally establishing the relationship. In order to further develop the relationship, NOVA was invited for a reciprocal visit to meet with the IFAC faculty, staff and students in the hopes of finding common areas of interest to establish partnerships and exchanges.

IF-Acre is part of a federally funded system of 48 Federal Institutes (IFs) of Science and Technology with over 600 campuses located in every state of Brazil. IFs serve students at the high school, undergrad and graduate level primarily in the areas of science and technology. Like community colleges, each IF has specialty areas that meet the needs of their specific community and industries.

The state of Acre is one of the most remote in northwestern Brazil, bordering Peru and Bolivia and largely within the Amazon rainforest. Given its distance from the capital and the richer metropolitan areas on the coast, Acre is often overlooked and lacks exposure to international partnerships. It is home to many indigenous tribes which also make up part of their student populations as well as some of the most pristine rainforest and wildlife in the world.

As a result of the visit, plans are being made for faculty and student collaborations between the institutions that may include opportunities for academic and service learning projects abroad.

The visit was sponsored by NOVA’s Office of International Education and Sponsored Programs with support from the Annandale, Manassas, Woodbridge campuses as well as NOVA’s Workforce Development Division.  The NOVA delegation included; Dr. Pamela Hilbert (Provost AN), Dr. Sam Hill (Provost WO), Dr. Ghada Abdelmoumin (IT Professor AN), Dr. Rebecca Hayes (History Professor and Honors Chair MA), Ms. Keila Louzada (ACLI Coordinator, Workforce) and Stacey Bustillos (Associate Director, OIESP).