Kennedy Center highlights Brazil as host of upcoming global events

Workers paint white lines on the grass during an inspection tour of Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. AP Photo.
Workers paint white lines on the grass during an inspection tour of Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. AP Photo.

The BYU Kennedy Center will host a series of lectures, films and other special events in its “Brazil Beneath the Surface” program throughout this winter semester to increase awareness about the country.

This summer, Brazil will host the 2014 Soccer World Cup, and in 2016 the country will host the Summer Olympic Games.

“Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world and will be the fifth largest economy, and the view that we have of it is stuck in a previous era; we think Brazil matters,” said Cory Leonard, assistant director of International Studies at the Kennedy Center.

The Kennedy Center has scheduled seven lectures and eight films that will explore Brazilian history and culture. The series is designed to help people better understand how the nation has evolved throughout the years and explore the great diversity the country has to offer.

Professor Rex Nielson, assistant professor in the Spanish and Portuguese department, chose experts at BYU and across the country to bring new perspectives about Brazil to the lectures. Some of these speakers include Paulo Sotero, who works at Brazil Institute in Washington D.C., and Gary Neeleman, honorary consul in Salt Lake City.

Professor Rex Nielson, together with the Kennedy Center and along with the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, put together a series of events that go beyond lectures and films. Aside from those lectures and films, they will organize exhibitions, including one at the library about the Amazon, a jazz festival and a “capoeira” performance for BYU students, staff and anyone who is interested in learning more about Brazil.

David Amorim, a junior from Sao Paulo studying genetics and biotechnology said he thinks the lecture series is a great opportunity for BYU students to learn more about Brazil. This is especially important because of the two events the country will host within the next two and a half years.

“I think everyone should go,” Amorim said. “The timing is great due to the fact that the World Cup will be hosted in Brazil, which will attract the attention of tens of thousand of people around the world and expose them to Brazil.”

Katie Devenport, a senior in Latin American studies, values learning about other cultures and believes that knowing about other countries helps people become more open-minded.

“I’m excited to get involved because I am learning Portuguese and I love Latin American culture, but I haven’t been able to learn about Brazil yet,” Devenport said.

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