Campus & Community

Harvard University receives major gift to endow Brazil Studies Program

3 min read

The J.P. Lemann family has made a major gift to Harvard University to endow permanently its Brazil Studies Program. The first significant commitment of Drew Faust’s presidency, it signals the importance of international priorities at Harvard.

The University’s Brazil Studies Program enhances collaboration between Harvard students and faculty who are leaders in their fields with their Brazilian counterparts across a wide range of disciplines including medicine and public health, engineering, education, public policy, the environment, and social sciences. The program also provides a hospitable environment for Brazilians at Harvard and for Harvard scholars in Brazil. More of Brazil’s highly talented students are now able to attend Harvard, including Lemann Fellows — graduate students in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Kennedy School of Government, and the Harvard School of Public Health — who will contribute to Brazil’s public sector. In addition, increased numbers of Harvard students and faculty members are traveling to Brazil and learning more about its culture, language, and history.

“With this marvelous gift of endowment funds for Brazil studies, Harvard’s international efforts take a major step forward,” says President Drew Faust. “Our University-wide commitment to the global exchange of ideas requires a significant investment of resources to enable our students and faculty to engage in cross-cultural exploration. The Lemann family’s gift has put in motion a set of initiatives related to Brazil that can serve as a model for future international endeavors at Harvard.”

Prior gifts from the Lemann family helped Harvard increase ties to Brazil, and the eight-figure gift of endowment funds will secure these initiatives in perpetuity. Since mid-2006, a Brazil Office has been established in São Paulo. This office has already assisted more than 30 Harvard faculty members and 40 students studying and doing research in the country. The Brazil Office also organized a major Harvard-Brazil Symposium on public health issues and established a highly successful internship program for Harvard students in the country. The Brazil Studies Program, administered in conjunction with the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS), has sponsored more than 20 colloquia and seminars on Brazil in Cambridge and a major conference on Brazil’s AIDS prevention and treatment initiatives. It has sponsored numerous faculty research projects ranging from infectious diseases to the impact of aerosols in the Amazon to law and development. The Brazil Program’s Faculty Advisory Committee has over 50 members and represents all of the schools and divisions of Harvard.

“Harvard’s international agenda is steadily advancing, and we are grateful for support from alumni and friends such as the Lemann family to help us sustain our commitment to increasing scholarly exchange across the globe,” says Jorge Domínguez, vice provost for international affairs and Antonio Madero Professor of Mexican and Latin American Politics and Economics. “The endowment funds for Brazil studies will fuel a critical component of our international engagement.”