2017 Brazil Conference – First Impressions

By Camila Jordan, Co Editor and Writer at Brazil Talk

While our team is making the five-hour trip from New York to Boston, I cannot stop myself from thinking and creating expectations on the things that will be said during this conference, and if the dialogues undertaken during two intense days will have any lasting legacy on the future of our country.

For the past three years, since former president Dilma’s reelection in 2014, Brazilians have lost the ability of constructing dialogues across diverging opinions. This period has been strenuous and tiring, as most people learned to quickly identify and categorize each other based on basic and too simple concepts of politics and notions of “right and wrong”.

This conference will bring in extremely pertinent players in Brazilian politics, from the above mentioned, Dilma Rousseff, Marina Silva, former president candidate (2014) and minister of the Environment (2003-2008), Car-Wash’s judge Sérgio Moro, former mayor of São Paulo Fernando Haddad (PT) and current mayor of Salvador, ACM Neto and judge Gilmar Mendes, among many others. We are expecting some pretty interesting – and hopefully fruitful – discussions with this diverse set of speakers.

The team that organized the event at MIT and Harvard focused on creating an environment that will promote debate and dialogue that rather connects people, instead of driving them further apart. Similarly to the United States, Brazil has found it extremely difficult to bring people from opposing points of view together, even when everyone claims to be invested in Brazil’s future.

However, some attempts are being made: two foundations connected to the two largest political parties in Brazil, PT and PSDB, are going to meet in São Paulo this month. The intention is to discuss the current state of the Brazilian political system. Although these initiatives are shedding some light on these issues, Brazil’s future still lies in the hands of a dated political class. Nonetheless, our country’s conditions are constantly changing, and it is important to keep believing that dialogue and debate can bring about change – even when it seems like a distant expectation.

While I look out of the window of our bus, the anxiousness and excitement of the next few days is ever present in my thoughts. What gives me hope and calmness to look ahead is to know that many other Brazilians, whether they are students, scholars, teachers, professionals or government officials, are also highly invested and willing to work hard to move our country into a more prosperous path. The road to recovery is a hard one; many obstacles will need to be surmounted daily, towards the vision of a country where the highest interest in everybody’s minds is the one of an equitable, sustainable and long-term development of Brazil.

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