PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons and Jorge Morán, president and Chief Executive Officer of Sovereign Bank and Santander U.S. Country Head, signed a memorandum of understanding renewing support for the annual series of Brown International Advanced Research Institutes (BIARI). Co-sponsored by Brown and Sovereign | Santander, the program convenes promising young scholars from around the world each summer to share research, engage in a high-level intellectual and policy dialogue, and build scholarly networks to foster long-term collaborations.
BIARI began as a small pilot project in 2008 and officially launched in 2009. Over the four-year life span of the program, more than 500 scholars and practitioners from approximately 75 countries have participated in the two-week intensive summer institutes on Brown's campus. Organized by discipline and designed and run by recognized scholars, each Institute addresses cutting-edge questions of academic fields including development and inequality in the Global South, global humanities, climate change, and global health.
BIARI is also designed to help foster the emergence of long-term research, teaching, and outreach collaborations. Participants continue to build relationships through a dynamic online network and can apply for seed funding for projects that are outgrowths of Institute initiatives.
Representatives from Sovereign | Santander, Brown faculty and administrators, and past BIARI participants gathered Monday for the signing ceremony at the Kim Koo Library in the Watson Institute for International Studies. During her remarks, Simmons called the BIARI endeavor “a shining success” and said that Brown is proud to support BIARI scholars in further developing their expertise and professional networks.
“The networking aspect was very critical to all of us as we started this program,” said Simmons. “The idea was not to have people just come and enjoy benefits of the summer program, but also go back with the means to continue those conversations and links across the world. For particular countries and for scholars in those areas, to have the means of reaching scholars in their field from around the world is an enormous boon to them.”
The strength of the BIARI alumni community was made clear by the attendance of two former participants — from Brazil and Nigeria — who are now visiting scholars based at the Watson Institute.
Patricia Agupusi, a research fellow and associate tutor at the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia, attended BIARI in 2009, where she met Glenn Loury, the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences at Brown. As a visiting fellow at Brown this year, Agupusi has been collaborating with Loury to publish a paper on comparative social justice in South Africa and the United States, as well assisting Ashutosh Varshney in his study of ethnicity and religious conflicts in Nigeria.
“As a young scholar, BIARI has been an extraordinary experience not only in terms of professional development for my own research and teaching, but also for the academic collaborations it ignited,” Agupusi said. “I am now collaborating with very distinguished faculty — something that would not have happened if not for this program.”
The signing marked the renewal of the agreement between Brown and Sovereign | Santander for an additional three years of BIARI. The 2012 session will be held June 9-23, 2012.
“Wherever Brown goes internationally now, we have a network of past BIARI participants that now open doors for our professors and students,” said Matthew Gutmann, vice president for international affairs. “We have expanded our base among some of the top people in the fields of climate change, HIV research, and development and inequality. BIARI is a great example of a long-term University and business relationship, and it's thriving.”