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Rutgers faculty meet with President of Argentina

A delegation of individuals, including faculty from Rutgers, met with members of the Argentine government last month. – Photo by @RutgersGlobal / Twitter

Last month, faculty from the Rutgers School of Engineering met with the President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, at the Argentine Consulate in New York.

Fernando Muzzio, a distinguished professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers School of Engineering, said that five faculty members from Rutgers were invited to be part of a 25-person delegation to meet the head of state.

"You don't usually say no to this kind of invitation," he said. "So the invitation came, and I accepted, and we went there."

The Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering has maintained a relationship with the Argentine Consulate by designing courses with a global focus and hosting a significant number of Argentine professors.

Muzzio said the department has been able to send researchers to Argentina and bring researchers from Argentina to work in labs at Rutgers.

"Argentina has one of the most advanced educational systems in Latin America, so when you do things with Argentina, it's easy to use that as an entry point for interacting with other countries, like Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay which are in that area that tends to send their people to study in Argentina," he said.

During the meeting with Fernández, Muzzio said he discussed an opportunity for Latin America to enter into the pharmaceutical industry by supplying the U.S. with manufacturing materials.

"The (U.S.) is seeking to switch a lot of their imports in the pharmaceutical space away from Asia and (toward) domestic manufacturing," he said. "(Also) countries in which there is a more reliable relationship … this creates an opportunity for Latin America, and Argentina in particular, to become a supplier of some ingredients and materials and products that the U.S. is currently buying from Asia."

Muzzio said he brought this topic up because he knew Fernández would be meeting with President Joseph R. Biden Jr. during his visit to the U.S.

In addition to Fernández, many other high-ranking Argentine officials were present at the meeting and conversed with Rutgers faculty. Muzzio said he hopes these interactions will lead to even more dialogue between the government of Argentina and Rutgers' Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering.

Muzzio also mentioned the significant amount of activity that is currently taking place in the pharmaceutical space, namely in pharmaceutical manufacturing — Muzzio's primary area of expertise.

"There is a tremendous amount of interest and effort currently going on about how do we modernize the pharmaceutical manufacturing space? How do we make drugs safer? How do we improve the quality and avoid potential risks to people?" he said.

Muzzio's role and involvement with the Argentine Consulate is something he wanted students to recognize as many of the other things that professors do besides teaching courses and working or conducting research in a lab.

"Try to see faculty as more than just people who come and do lectures. Engage in conversation and share perspective because there is so much more than you realize," he said.

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