Highlights and Activities

These summaries of the Brazil Studies Program are drawn from our Annual Reports. To learn more about select events described in these activity summaries, please visit the hyperlinks, which connect to videos and photos from the corresponding events


2016-2017 Highlights and Activities

The Brazil Studies Program featured 22 events on a variety of topics and in collaboration with several units at Harvard. Three major events stand out: the Lemann Dialogue in November 2016, a seminar on Crisis in Brazil, and the Annual Brazil Conference. In November, Professors Frances Hagopian and Scott Mainwaring, Faculty Co-Chairs of the Brazil Studies Program, hosted the Sixth Annual Lemann Dialogue, an annual conference on Brazil, organized and hosted in rotation by Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The event convened faculty from the collaborating institutions as well as scholars, policymakers, and other experts from Brazil to look beyond the crisis and point towards solutions on current issues related to political reform, the economy, education, and public security in the country. Speakers included the Ambassador of Brazil to the United States, Sergio Amaral; Harvard professors Edward Glaeser, Marcia Castro, Scott Edwards, Laura Alfaro, and the Vice Provost of International Affairs, Mark Elliott; and Jorge Paulo Lemann. 

The Brazil Studies Program co-sponsored a seminar to address the institutional crisis in Brazil featuring Professor Scott Mainwaring and Harvard Ph.D. student in Government, Fernando Bizzarro. To explain the origins of this crisis, they examined Brazil's trajectory from the early 2000s to the present, highlighting the grinding recession in Brazil and what they characterized as the biggest corruption scandal in the world history of democracy. During the talk, Mainwaring and Bizzarro also discussed the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff and the imprisonment of billionaires and powerful politicians in connection with the corruption scandals. 

In April 2017, the Brazil Studies Program co-sponsored the Brazil Conference, an event organized by Brazilian students at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In its third edition, this two-day event brought together students, scholars, and leaders from the Brazilian government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to discuss the key contemporary social, economic, and political challenges in Brazil. Through a series of panels on education, innovation, politics, violence, inclusion and diversity, the event manages to foster dialogue between the opposing political sides in Brazil. Featured speakers included former president Dilma Rousseff; the federal jduge in charge of the Operation Car Wash investigation, Sergio Moro; former president of the Brazilian Central Bank, Arminio Fraga; former environment minister, Marina Silva; and Jorge Paulo Lemann. Other participants included Harvard Professors Lawrence Summers (who interviews Fraga), Michael Sandel (who entered into dialoge with Justice Luis Barreto Barroso on Brazilian ethics), Frances Hagopian (who interviewed Rousseff) and Scott Mainwaring (who anchored the panel on political reforms in Brazil). 

These events, combined with 19 other weekly seminars hosted by the Brazil Studies Program Seminar Series, have provided an environment for brainstorming and discussing the current situation in Brazil, the challenges facing the country and its role on the international stage, along with other issues including the environment, Brazilian history, and the arts.