Saint Martin’s recent sister-university agreement to foster new relationship with Brazil

November 16, 2012

LACEY, WASHINGTON — Saint Martin’s University soon may host its first Brazilian students and help supply educational opportunities abroad sought by that nation’s leaders to stem a shortage of skilled workers.

On Nov. 14, Prof. Carlos Henrique Figueiredo Alves, general director of Centro Federal de Educacao Tecnologica Celso Suckow da Fonseca (known as CEFET), traveled to Saint Martin’s to sign a sister-university agreement with University President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D. The agreement paves the way for academic and cultural exchange between Saint Martin’s and the respected Brazilian technological institute.

sister-university brazil The ceremony is the first fruit from Saint Martin’s participation in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s education services trade mission to Brazil earlier this fall. Sixty-six colleges and universities sent representatives on the mission, which took part in student education fairs in Brasilia, Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.

Saint Martin’s interim Office of International Programs and Development Director Marco Tulluck was the sole representative on the trade mission from Washington state’s higher education community. He took the opportunity while there to meet with Prof. Alves, as well as several other Brazilian officials.

“Bringing Brazilian students to Saint Martin’s will add valuable diversity to our community and aid in creating a culture of ‘global citizenry’ on our campus,” Tulluck said. “Ninety percent of the University’s international students come from countries in Asia, namely China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Currently, Saint Martin’s doesn’t have any international students from Brazil or from any countries in South America.”

It also furthers Saint Martin’s efforts to encourage hospitality and to develop in each student an appreciation and respect of other cultures, in keeping with the University’s Benedictine traditions, he said.

The trade mission dovetails with Brazilian efforts to expand the number of its students studying abroad through its “Science Without Borders” education initiative. Initiated by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the program seeks to send 100,000 of the nation’s students abroad for education to help fill a significant shortage of skilled Brazilian workers in the sciences, math and technology.

An Aug. 28 media advisory from the commerce department notes that Brazil is expected to become the world’s fifth largest economy and an increasingly important trade partner in coming years.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 375 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 300 more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For additional information:

Marco Tulluck
Interim Director of International Programs and Development
Saint Martin's University

Sarah Holdener
Director of Community Relations and event management
Office of Marketing and Communications
Saint Martin’s University