Psych professor builds bridges to Latin America

Fabio Leite is serving as the academic director for Ohio State's Brazil Gateway.
Fabio Leite and a colleague at the Brazil Gateway

Why is Brazil an important gateway for Ohio State? 

Brazil is a strategic country to connect Ohio State to the Latin American region. It serves as a gateway to attract students, develop research and creative collaborations, facilitate study abroad opportunities/experience, start partnerships, connect alumni, etc. The Ohio State University Brazil Gateway connects Ohio State faculty, staff, and students to partners in academic, corporate, governmental, and non-governmental organizations. 


How could a regional campus such as Lima fit into the mix? 

Ohio State Lima and other regional campuses could become key partners for the Brazil Gateway. Regional-campus faculty, for example, could develop productive research and creative collaborations with faculty in Latin America who are likewise heavily involved in undergraduate education. Students could likewise benefit from short-term or remote learning opportunities with students in Brazil and other countries in Latin America.


What is your role? 

As academic director, I am a senior advisor to the Executive Director of the Global Gateways (in the Office of International Affairs) on initiatives/actions aimed at advancing research and scholarship collaborations between North American and Latin American colleagues. In short, I am looking to identify opportunities for long-lasting collaborations involving teaching and learning and/or scholarship.


How has your research and teaching background made you effective in this role? 

Having collaborated in scholarship production with colleagues in Brazil and having gained a deep understanding of the teaching and learning systems across cultures have allowed me to bridge between objectives of partner institutions and Ohio State.


How do you encourage other Ohio State faculty to form partnerships and build relationships abroad? 

I encourage every faculty member to consider what a partnership with a colleague in Latin America could look like, from their areas of expertise to potential benefits to their students that a collaboration could bring. To that end, I invite them to contribute to a database that catalogs their expertise and areas of interest by completing a survey. The academic directors and operation directors could use that information to connect them to a suitable match!


What is the most exciting part for you so far?

I have met with more than a dozen existing or potential partner organizations in Brazil, from corporations looking to offer internships (remote or in person) to our students to universities to funding agencies. Learning of the enthusiastic interest in collaborations and the vast amount of potential opportunities to our students and faculty has been tremendously exciting. I look forward to helping build and strengthen long-lasting partnerships through which everyone contributes and feel enriched by the experience.  

Fabio Leite (second from the right) at the ESALQ/USP, a partner institute to the Brazil Gateway in the city of Piracicaba in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil.