Yale to strengthen faculty ties with Brazil
In a push to increase partnerships with Brazil as part of Yale’s global strategy, administrators and faculty raised hopes for the University’s relationship with the country in the coming years.
Tim Tai, Photography Editor
Last month’s Yale Brazil 100/200 conference — the first to virtually connect São Paulo to Yale — was lauded by administrators and faculty.
The conference represented the University’s wider push to strengthen its ties to Brazil, one of the world’s largest economies and a global hub of research and culture with a population of 214 million.
“Yale’s strategy with regard to strengthening connections with Brazil begins with a focus on the remarkable range and variety of faculty initiatives across our campus,” University President Peter Salovey wrote in an email to the News.
The University celebrated the centenary of São Paulo’s Week of Modern Art and the bicentennial of Brazil’s independence with 15 leading scholars from Brazil, Europe and the United States. The University and Brazilian groups are also engaging in several faculty collaborations.
Salovey told the News that the recent Yale Brazil 100/200 conference was a “terrific” example of this approach.
Portuguese and Brazilian literature professor Kenneth David Jackson, who organized the Brazil 100/200 conference last month, told the News that since the conference, the Yale Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies has been working with groups including the Getulio Vargas Foundation, the Yale Club of São Paulo and the University of São Paulo on future collaborative projects. The president of the Yale Club of São Paulo arrived on campus on Tuesday.
Program Director of the Council on Latin American & Iberian Studies Asia Neupane added that “institutional partnerships” were an important part of the conference. She also told the News that faculty have since been considering additional academic collaborations for the coming years and about continuing the “momentum” from the conference by connecting Brazilian scholars and faculty to the Yale community.
And the momentum has indeed continued among faculty. Last Thursday, history professor Stuart Schwartz hosted a collaborative session with Brazilian scholars across the country, including the Universidade Federal de São Paulo and the Universidade Federal de Bahia.
In addition, the U.S. government recently provided the University with resources to strengthen its relationship with the South American country. Through a new Fulbright Distinguished Scholarship Award established in 2021, the Council will receive a visiting Brazilian professor each year for the next four years, according to Jackson.
The Council has also organized several faculty initiatives over the years, including partnerships with the Brazilian Ministry of Education and UNESCO, as well as courses related to Brazil which are taught by Brazilian faculty at Yale.
Jackson explained that there were “many reasons” Yale should be interested in promoting relations with Brazil. As the sixth largest country in the world by population size, and the 12th largest economy by nominal GDP, Jackson told the News that Brazil serves as one of the “leading countries of the 21st century.”
“Brazil cuts in many different ways,” Jackson said. “It’s a major player.”
In the University’s 2019-2022 global strategy document, it was noted that the Office of International Affairs would support “small, targeted recruitment efforts” in terms of research and student talent across the world, and made special note toward initiatives within Brazil.
Vice Provost of Global Strategy Steven Wilkinson expressed hope for the potential of Yale’s partnerships in the country.
“I’m delighted to see both the range of Yale activities with Brazil, and their growth,” Wilkinson wrote in an email to the News.
Jackson emphasized that although he is hopeful for the future of a relationship between the University and Brazil, the initiative is still on the “drawing board.”
“It’s still in kind of an organizational phase and [you know] I hope that a lot of things come out of it,” Jackson said. “But there’s still a lot of ideas and directions to be explored. It’s not like it’s already a full blown and developed program.”
Salovey last publicly visited Brazil in 2014.