Mason, Costa Rica ink agreement

George Mason University president Ángel Cabrera and Costa Rica president Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera sign an agreement laying out terms of a partnership to study mosquito-borne illnesses. (Ron Aira/George Mason University)

George Mason University and the nation of Costa Rica have formalized a partnership to share information and resources to study mosquito-borne illnesses, including Zika.

Costa Rica president Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera and Mason president Ángel Cabrera signed the agreement, which has been two years in the making, said Peggy Agouris, dean of Mason’s College of Science.

The agreement “is proof that exciting things can happen when visionary scientists connect,” Agouris said.

Costa Rica became interested in a partnership when the Costa Rican ambassador, Román Macaya Hayes, became aware of research already underway at the Mason-based National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases. Discussions began in 2015, Agouris said, followed by an exchange of visits to the center by Costa Rican officials and trips to Costa Rica by Mason scientists.

During the ceremony at Founders Hall on the Arlington campus, Cabrera presented Solís with the university’s Freedom and Learning Award.

“What we have been working on is truly significant for the country and, I hope, for science in general,” Solís  said. “If we can make progress dealing with these diseases and discovering treatments, it will be great for many, many thousands of people, not only in Latin America but in different countries around the world.”

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