Peru's first partnership with a U.S. state begins right here in Delaware. Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del., met with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and Ambassador Harold Forsyth to establish a relationship between the Republic of Peru and the State of Delaware, covering everything from agriculture to science and technology.

The Port of Wilmington is the leading fruit seaport in the U.S., serving as a major distribution center for perishable cargo on the east coast and largest port for bananas in the Western Hemisphere. Those were just a few key factors that Peruvian officials acknowledge as huge benefits.

"The cooperation between Peru and the government of Delaware indicates our interest in being connected with one of the most dynamic regional economies in the USA," said President Humala. "We are looking forward to amplifying our trade and commercial relationship to the benefit of our people."

As the leading exporter of asparagus, organic coffee, organic cacao, and organic bananas worldwide, Peru looks at the location of the Port of Wilmington as the best place to share ideas and learn from each others exporters.

Markell was in Washington to make the announcement at the Peruvian embassy. "We're excited and honored to work together with Peru to explore new ways to create jobs in both of our countries," said Governor Markell. "Delaware is a state of neighbors, so we know how to identify opportunities together and then move quickly to get things done. Our experience with the Embassy shows that Peru has a similar approach – open, practical and innovative."

On behalf of the National Port Authority of Peru, Peruvian Ambassador Harold Forsyth signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Gene Bailey of the Diamond State Port Corporation, which owns and operates the Port of Wilmington. The Port of Wilmington has been handling loads of Peruvian grapes since 2008. Also, thanks to Peru's climate, off season products can be shipped to the United States.

"We have an opportunity here and we're extremely excited about this opportunity to exchange information, to visit Peru, to understand how they handle cargo, maybe improve the way we handle cargo as well," said Bailey. "We can build on relationships and exchange technologies ideas and more importantly provide them an opportunity to ship their cargo to the Port of Wilmington. We can all benefit from the fresh Peruvian fruits."

"We appreciate the mutual understanding between both parties, and we expect to excel in terms of cooperation and trade opportunities," said Ambassador Forsyth.

The new partnership between Peru and Delaware also benefits the University of Delaware even though the educational institution is very familiar with Peru.University Officials are currently looking into the development of a graduate-student exchange program.

"This is a premiere opportunity for us. We've also really tried to build our presence in Latin America, it's one of our priority regions for involvement. We have a number of projects in Columbia and we're really pleased to partner in Peru. We have a number of art conservation, and earth-ocean science, and agricultural projects there. So this is a great opportunity to bring scholars to the University of Delaware and continue this engagement," said Dr. Nancy Guerra of University of Delaware's Global Studies Institute.

In 2012, The UD School of Nursing hosted a Study Abroad trip to Peru. Prior to that UD sought to improve the teaching of mathematics, physics, and chemistry through innovative approaches. To achieve that the university signed a "General Agreement and Supplemental Agreement" with the Pontifica Universidad Catolica del Peru that utilized the University of Delaware's expertise in Problem-Based Learning.