IRI’s First International Office

On August 14, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society signed an agreement with Uruguay’s Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria to open an IRI office in Uruguay and to expand ongoing scientific collaboration between Uruguay and Columbia University.  The new five-year agreement, which starts in September, will support two-way exchanges between IRI and INIA staff. Some funds to cover research and training will also be available so that scientists from the Earth Institute as well as graduate students and scientists from across Columbia University can work on activities to improve climate risk management in agriculture in Uruguay and the Southern Cone region.

“This agreement and the opening of IRI’s office in Uruguay is one more effort of Columbia University and its Latin American Global Centers to promote collaboration in research and training activities in the region,” says IRI’s Walter Baethgen, who signed the agreement on behalf of IRI. “It is also a great opportunity to promote President Lee Bollinger’s idea of ensuring that Columbia’s students and staff are better prepared to work in a globalized world by having the chance to advance work in policy, institutions and scientific issues in South America.”

The signing ceremony was also attended by David McKean, the Director of Policy Planning of U.S. Department of State, Julissa Reynoso, the U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay, Tabare Aguerre, Uruguay’s Minister of Agriculture, and Alvaro Roel, President of INIA.  Columbia University’s Glenn Denning gave the keynote speech.

The office is located in one of INIA’s research centers, 30 miles northwest of the country’s capital city, Montevideo, in a locality called Las Brujas, which means “the witches”. It’s in the middle of a rural area that produces horticultural crops, and fruits such as apples, prunes, peaches and pears.

More information is available on the INIA website (Spanish).