During the inauguration of Labex Korea last December 10, 2009, the President of Embrapa, Dr. Pedro Arraes Pereira, expressed his appreciation for the hospitality and the partnership of the Rural Development Administration of South Korea, that opened its doors for the installation of the first Virtual Laboratory of Embrapa in Asia.
According to Dr. Arraes, “the fact that this institutional arrangement meets with the approval of the science and technology elite of South Korea is ensuring the correctness of our hopes.” He also indicated that the challenge of implementing and consolidating Labex Korea “requires the humility to understand that we will have to work hard to make this a scientific and institutional landmark in the cooperation between Brazil and Korea.”
The remarks of Dr. Arraes at the inaugural ceremony of Labex Korea are transcribed below:
“In this important moment, in which we inaugurate our Virtual Laboratory in South Korea in partnership with the Rural Development Administration, we also celebrate 50 years of strong technical and scientific cooperation between South Korea and Brazil. However, in the field of agricultural technology development, the most ambitious scientific cooperation between our countries started less than five years ago.
There is good reason for it: Embrapa is still a young scientific institution – only 36 years old, in an equally young country – Brazil has a little more than 500 years, which is not much compared to the ancient societies and cultures of Asia. Brazil had to dedicate quite a long time in a learning process to enable us to dream of scientific and technological developments of high relevance and impact.
We had to learn from older and experienced societies the tradition and rigor of the paths of science. Then we had to learn how to build solid scientific institutions and to manage them well. And finally, throughout this time, we have dedicated ourselves to learning the science and the mysteries of life in the tropics, to help the Brazilian people to build what we call Tropical Agriculture, following criteria of production efficiency, economic and environmental sustainability to better serve Brazil and the world.
So, it is with a great sense of awe and respect for the knowledge produced and shared by older nations and institutions and with our tradition and commitment to continuous learning that Embrapa accepts and appreciates the hospitality and the partnership of the Rural Development Administration of South Korea, to install here our Virtual Laboratory in Asia, the Labex Korea.
Labex Korea is the third phase of the Embrapa Program “Virtual Labs Abroad”. The Labex program was first established in 1998, with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The second Labex opened in 2002 at Agropolis International in Montpellier, France and later became Labex Europe. From the beginning, this program was sustained on the view that we must learn to then contribute, and also on the hope that international networks of agricultural research will better serve the world.
With Labex, Embrapa aims to achieve three objectives:
– Integrate its senior scientists with teams of scientific excellence abroad, to conduct advanced research on issues of common interest;
– Monitor the expansion of the frontiers of science and technology and the development of new knowledge, to build the capacity to contribute, and
– Encourage the creation of international research networks, integrating teams of researchers from Embrapa and partner institutions like – we are sure, will happen here.
An innovation in the Labex Experience is that the Rural Development Administration have decided to create its own Virtual Lab in Brazil (RAVL), which has been installed in March of this year at the Embrapa Headquarter, in Brasilia. The fact that this institutional arrangement meets with the approval of the science and technology elite of South Korea is ensuring the correctness of our hopes. It requires also the humility to understand that we will have to work hard to make this a scientific and institutional landmark in the cooperation between Brazil and Korea.
I think the areas that have prioritized for this effort – genetic resources and botany, advanced biology, animal sciences, bio-energy, agro-ecology, environmental sciences, engineering and automation all account for the urgent needs of the entire planet and give us the opportunity to make a definite contribution for the future of our countries and our children.
I am sure that Dr. Boh-Suk Yang, who has as his Brazilian counterpart Dr. Rodolfo Rumpf, one of our top scientists, will do a great job in reaching these goals. I also have no doubt that Dr. Mauricio Lopes, who I know well as one of the most important leaders of Embrapa, will have no difficulties in working in the same direction, considering all the excellent support he has been receiving from RDA.
I thank RDA for this excellent partnership and also take the opportunity to thank Ambassador Edmundo Fujita for the trust and admiration that he dedicates to Embrapa and for his motivation in helping us move the Labex program forward.
I finalize hoping that in a few years we all remember with pride this day, as a milestone in the scientific and technological cooperation between Brazil and Korea.
Good luck to Labex in Korea, Good luck RAVL in Brazil.
Thank you very much.”