"South America has been neglected at large by Australia," says Charles Sturt University (CSU) Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Goulter. Australia and Chile in particular will build closer ties this week when the Chilean Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Jose Luis Balmaceda, visits the Wagga Wagga Campus of CSU (Tuesday 26 September).
The Ambassador will be accompanied by Mr Alvaro Rojas, the Chilean Minister for Agriculture, and other dignitaries and businessmen. It is hoped the visit will promote greater collaboration between CSU and Chilean educational institutions in the areas of wine and agricultural research and staff and student exchange.
“Student exchange is desirable because it prepares our students for participation in the global workforce, while staff exchange gives exposure to new research and teaching opportunities.
“And even though Chile and Australia may compete in wine and agriculture globally, in effect if we work together on projects of interests, both countries will improve their position in the international market,” said Professor Goulter, adding that Chile and Australia are both significant southern hemisphere nations which share a similar climate and environment.
Associate Professor Christopher Steel, lecturer in Viticulture, agrees adding, “like us, Chile is up against the European wine market. There are agricultural issues faced by the two countries, like disease management and so on. These are areas we could collaborate on.
“Some of their tertiary institutions have courses in wine science and viticulture, but not as developed as our courses. There seems to be an interest in high-level postgraduate study.”
Professor David Green, Head of the Wagga Wagga Campus, is hosting the visit. He says building a relationship with Chile is “absolutely important. The universities we are looking at are the best in Chile. The cementing of international relationships between national and international institutions for research is highly desirable for all involved and is a key strategy of the University.”
The visit by the Chilean delegation of ten will commence with a presentation on research and teaching activities by Associate Professor Chris Steel.
Media are invited to join the walking tour of the Wine and Food Industry Training Centre at 11am, when the experimental winery, cheese factory and commercial winery will be inspected.
After lunch, the visit will continue at the EH Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, an alliance between CSU and NSW Department of Primary Industries, where Emeritus Professor Ted Wolfe will greet the delegation, before inspections of the NSW Department of Primary Industry oilseed laboratory and animal house facilities. The visit will conclude with Professor Kym Abbott at the Agricultural & Veterinary Sciences School’s Preclinical Centre.