On April 28 and 29, 2022, UFOP was represented in the 1st Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa (ARIFA) Symposium, which took place at the Federal University of Viçosa, in the city of Viçosa - MG.
The ARIFA Program is promoted by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) in a partnership with the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV) and the participation of the Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP), Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), Federal University of Itajubá (UNIFEI), Federal University of Goiás (UFG), and São Paulo State University (Unesp). ARIFA Program's goal is to restructure the African agriculture sector to guarantee food security in that continent through the training of 5000 professionals along 10 years. Brazilian institutions have contributed to the Program by training professionals at Master’s degree level, providing courses taught in English.
The Symposium's theme was “Pedagogic Retooling Strategy for Africa’s Agricultural Research and Innovation System: Lessons from Brazil”, and it aimed at the institutional strengthening of TETFund Centers of Excellence and the development of a delimitation strategy for an ARIFA model throughout Africa, in partnership with other African Higher Education Trust Funds, including Ghana, South Africa, and Liberia. Moreover, the Brazilian institutions presented their experiences of welcoming the first Nigerian students in Master programs, from 2020 on. For the Program's expansion, FARA and TETFund signed an agreement with the Brazilian Association for International Education (FAUBAI), which will allow the participation of other Brazilian institutions in the ARIFA Program, as well as the addition of financing Doctorate and Post Doctorate degrees through the Program.
In the event were present the Ambassador of Nigeria in Brazil, Professor Mohammad Ahmad Makarfi, FARA and TETFund representatives, representatives from the six Brazilian institutions participating in the ARIFA Program, besides the students funded by the Program, who are faculty members in Nigeria. As UFOP representatives, the Director of International Relations Office, Jaqueline Schultz, and the Coordinator of International Agreements and Mobility, Anderson Gamarano, attended, and as UFOP's international students were the Nigerian students enrolled in the Ecology of Tropical Biomes Master Program, Muhsin Hasan Kafinga and Ibraheem Kabir, and Umeh Emmanuel Chukwuebuka, enrolled in the Mathematics Education Master Program.
The Symposium first day's schedule was broadcasted via the UFV YouTube channel and it is available on the following links:
UFOP welcomed the first three students through the ARIFA Program in August, 2021, who started the online activities, including Portuguese as Foreign Language classes. In March, 2022, the students arrived in Ouro Preto for the in-person activities and it is expected the arrival of one more student for the Mathematics Education Master Program. The Participation in the ARIFA-FARA-TETFund Program has contributed to the Graduate programs’ internationalization, with courses taught in English and the increase of international students, as well as being a South-South cooperation initiative that contributes to the African continent development.