The UOC Forms Part of the Slow Food University Network

Barcelona, Spain, September 16, 2010 --( An agreement has been signed by Dr. Imma Tubella, UOC President, and Carlo Petrini, President of Slow Food, which will allow the university’s Food Systems, Culture and Society Area to participate in this movement which aims to preserve traditional foods by promoting a new model that respects biodiversity and the environment.

The signing of this agreement, which took place this week, will assist the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC) in the development of exchange programmes for faculty and students, and in training and support for local producer communities. Likewise, the UOC will be able to collaborate and participate in joint initiatives and activities run by Slow food, including Terra Madre, the network of universities and associated research centres.

With this agreement, the UOC commits to integrate the philosophy of the movement into programmes within the Department of Food Systems, Culture and Society, including the current Master's in Food, Society and International Food Governance and the Postgraduate in Food Systems and Society and within programmes to be launched in 2011: Master's in Food, Culture and Territory, and Master's in Ecologica Agriculture.

Slow Food is an international eco-gastronomic movement, founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986, which aims to preserve regional and traditional foods by promoting a new model that respects the environment and biodiversity, as well as people’s cultural identities and traditions. It currently has 100,000 members and is present in 132 countries.

The signing of this agreement enhance the UOC’s presence in international networks. The UOC will also be present at the bi-annualTerra Madre meeting which stimulates debate and contributes innovative concepts to the fields of food, gastronomy, globalisation and the economy.

The network of universities and research centres linked to Slow Food, which also take part in the Terra Madre conferences, is made up of some 400 academics from a wide range of countries including Japan, the US, Peru and Lebanon. All of its members are committed to the philosophy of changing the current logic of food production for one that promotes sustainable, quality food. The idea is to promote good, clean and fair food.

Terra Madre is supported by the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG), an academic centre based in Italy that is linked to the Slow Food movement and which focuses on studies to reduce the divide between agricultural science and gastronomy. The member universities in the Terra Madre network number 133 and include prestigious names such as Paris’s Sorbonne, Bilbao’s Deusto or Rome’s La Sapienza.

"With this agreement, the UOC aims to form part of an international drive for food quality, culture and localness,” said Dr. Imma Tubella, UOC President.

The UOC was founded fifteen years ago by the Catalan government’s desire to offer top quality distance education. The first university in the world to be exclusively on the internet, the UOC is a pioneer in Europe and deemed an international point of reference for its teaching and learning model.

UOC - The Open University of Catalonia
Daniela Silva