Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger are getting together this Thursday in Sacramento to sign a pact to "promote active collaboration in alternative energy, higher education and innovation," informed a press release from Berkeley's Center for Latin American Studies. The agreement is part of the initiative "Chile-California: A Partnership for the 21st Century," which was launched by Condoleeza Rice and the foreign affairs minister of Chile Alejandro Foxley last March.
Bachelet's official visit to Canada and the United States seeks to deepen the technological and energetic cooperation between her country and North America. After having met Canada's prime minister Stephen Harper, she's arriving in California to meet Schwarzenegger and to offer a conference at the Berkeley UC.
Alternative energy is a key issue for Chile, a country that imports three quarters of its power and that's facing energy shortage in its Northern area. According to the release, Chile is considering the installation of solar power plants in the Atacama desert, hence the interest in California.The agreement Bachelet will sign with the California governor will strengthen the initiative minister Foxley launched with Condoleeza Rice last March.
During its launch, Foxley said: "Why California? It is a part of the United States that has a situation that’s very similar to Chile insofar its physical space, geography and natural resources. But especially, it is a center of great innovation and creativity to generate new technologies and find pioneers, solutions and cooperation modalities between government, states, industries and talents."
"Chile had a partnership experience with California in the 1960s. Now we want to renew it, but vis-à-vis the 21st century. Hopefully, we will bring together associations and nongovernmental institutions of Chile and California," remarked the minister.
According to Foxley, by then governor Schwarzenegger had already expressed willingness and readiness to move the program ahead and had also proposed specific exchange ideas. Those will surely be part of this new reunion.
Bachelet said recently that Chile will be exploring various forms of alternative energy and that the country will spend more this year than previously on infrastructure. It will also establish a six billion dollars fund abroad to finance foreign study, informed the Berkeley press release.
During their stay in the United States, the president and her government officials are visiting California and Nevada, and are including in their agendas a visit to the Solar One plant in Nevada.
Before heading to the reunion with Schwarzenegger, Bachelet will give a speak at UC Berkeley called "The Transformation of Chile." The event is free and open to the public. More info about in on this link: Michelle Bachelet conference at Berkeley UC.
::Official release from Chilean government about North America visit (in Spanish)
::Alejandro Foxley speech about Chile-California: A Partnership for the 21st Century
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::The Case of the Disappearing Lake in Chile
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::Turning Big Box Stores into Solar Power Plants in California
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