We are a social impact organization (501c3) founded in 2011. We are about building a better world through conscious leadership development, entrepreneurship and cultural exchange.

Imagine a world where students and professionals could dream big. A world where their impact wouldn’t just be limited to their own neighborhood or city. A world where they thought about the problems of our entire global ecosystem, and actually felt that they had the tools to solve those problems with innovative solutions. THIS IS THE WORLD WE ARE CREATING! 

We are here to build the next generation of conscious global leaders by forging economic and cultural bridges between the two biggest economies in the Western Hemisphere: The United States and Brazil.

Mary Gershwin, the Founder of US-Brazil Connect said “I had an opportunity to reflect on two nations I care deeply about. And I asked myself, in this age of global tension, what can I do to promote cross-cultural understanding? Five years later, we have an organization that has impacted more than 5,000 young leaders in Brazil and the US.”

Sérgio Moreira, the Assistant Director of Education and Technology at CNI said “We have examined the impact, and can see clearly that the Conexão Mundo program produces the results that matter for the future of our students, our industries, and our country.”

Now we need your support to take it to the next level. We want to impact thousands more fellows, students and leaders.

To learn more about us please check out our impact code. 










The Secret to Our Success is Co-Creation 

US-Brazil Connect is unique.  We are about bringing organizations and people together to co-create solutions for a better world. True partnership is at the foundation of our work. All the programs, solutions and impact have been created in close collaboration with our Brazilian partner, the Brazilian Confederation of Industry. Over the years, the Brazilian Confederation of Industry has invested $8 million dollars into these co-created solutions. In addition to shared investment, the Conexão Mundo program is designed to benefit both Brazilian students and US-Brazil Connect Fellows. The Conexão Mundo Program is conducted in SESI/SENAI schools which are funded by the Brazilian Confederation of Industry.

Co-creation is not just done at the top level of US-Brazil Connect. Every level of the organization practices co-creation, collaboration and true partnership.

US-Brazil Connect Fellows co-create with Brazilian Students, US-Brazil Connect Team Leaders collaborate with the Brazilian SESI/SENAI schools coordinators, and the leadership of US-Brazil Connect partner with the executives of the Brazilian Confederation of Industry.

We live our values. We value co-created solutions. Co-creation is our competitive advantage.

 About Our Partnerships

Brazilian Confederation of Industry (CNI) 

The Brazilian Confederation of Industry, also know as CNI, is one of the largest trade associations in the world, with affiliate organizations in 26 states and the Federal District in Brazil. The SESI and SENAI education programs of CNI are funded by a payroll tax. SESI/SENAI operate over 700 technical training schools in Brazil serving 5 million students annually. CNI has invested $8 million into US-Brazil Connect and has been instrumental is co-creating all our solutions.

The United States Embassy 


The US Embassy in Brazil has been a strong supporter of US-Brazil Connect since 2013. The Embassy is providing a generous grant of $55,000 to support the upcoming US Immersion program for Brazilian students in Colorado and to launch the 2017 Conexão Mundo program in 6 sites throughout Brazil. This new grant brings the total to $113,500 in support.
“The US Embassy in Brazil is proud to support the impressive collaborative initiative of US-Brazil Connect. This partnership includes the Brazilian Confederation of Industry, 20 state-level industry associations in Brazil, six U.S. community colleges, and 11 Colorado companies and schools,” said the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Liliana Ayalde. “This grant is an exciting step forward for US-Brazil Connect. It enables more connections between the US and Brazil while creating opportunities for students who will create innovation in both countries,” states Mary Gershwin, president of US Brazil Connect. “


The Brazil Institute. Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars 

The Brazil Institute seeks to foster dialogue on key issues of bilateral concern between Brazil and the United States, advance Washington’s understanding of contemporary Brazilian developments, and promote detailed analysis of Brazil’s public policy. The Brazil Institute is a part of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the national, living memorial honoring President Woodrow Wilson. The Wilson Center provides a strictly nonpartisan space for the worlds of policy-making and scholarship to interact. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world. Created by an Act of Congress in 1968, The Wilson Center is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and supported by both public and private funds.

Community College Consortium

Part of our mission is to provide access to affordable transformative learning experiences. One way we do this is by providing an international fellowship for community college students.  US-Brazil Connect strengthens U.S. community college capacity to participate in high-impact, high-value partnerships with Brazilian institutions. Membership is by invitation.

Recognizing the scale of opportunity in Brazil, the US-Brazil Connect Community College Consortium:

  • Models effective community college partnerships with Brazil, attracts ongoing support, and lays the foundation for sustainable community college success through partnerships with Brazil.
  • Activates strategic partnerships with key Brazilian institutions, such as the Brazilian Confederation of Industry and the Federal Technical Training System.
  • Focuses on students by creating US-Brazil exchange opportunities that meet the unique needs of US community college students.

Our History


Providing Access to International Experience

At the start, we aimed to fill an obvious need: in the 21st century, US community colleges need affordable ways to prepare graduates for a globalized economy. We created the US-Brazil Connect Community College Consortium and conducted outreach to identify partner organizations in Brazil who share our passion for connections and innovations in education. In this search, we found one organization that shared not only our passion, but also our sense of urgency for action: The Brazilian Confederation of Industry (CNI). We quickly went to work together, creating Conexão Mundo and committing to implement our first program in 2012.

Developing Our Method

US-Brazil Connect and our Community College Partners enrolled our first group of 20 US-Brazil Connect fellows and 200 Brazilian high school students in February 2012. Throughout the spring, we prepared the fellows for travel to Brazil and developed our curriculum, connecting the fellows with their students using Facebook and Google Hangouts. In June, we took our group of 20 to Salvador, Brazil in June for an intensive 4-week immersion experience where they worked daily with 200 high school students. In October, The Brazilian Confederation funded a two-week trip to the US for a group of 10 students from Salvador. US-Brazil Connect hosted the group in Denver, Colorado and Steamboat Springs and held our first “Brazil Day” at the Denver Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Five Fold Growth

We grew five-fold, sending 110 US-Brazil Connect Fellows and Leaders for work with 950 students in eight cities. We also created a second fellowship program, The Global Leaders Fellowship, designed to serve university students and young professionals. In our first year, this program drew an outstanding class of fellows from institutions such as Columbia University, Colorado College and Georgetown University. In collaboration with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, we honored President Robson Andrade of the Brazilian Confederation of Industry with a two-day event in Denver, Colorado. The event drew high level participation from Brazil and the United States and resulted in plans to engage Brazil’s state level industry associations in further program expansion.


2014 was all about scaling our fellowship and Conexão Mundo to include: 32 cities across Brazil, 35 partner technical high schools, 6 US-Brazil Connect community colleges, 2000 low-income Brazilian students working to improve their language skills and gain global awareness through our 6 month program of intensive learning and exchange, 189 US-Brazil Connect Fellows and Team Leaders learning global leadership skills through coaching online and in Brazil, 18 state-level industry associations in Brazil helping develop talent pools in both countries.

Expanding Our Impact

US-Brazil Connect sustains its growth working with: 203 US-Brazil Connect Fellows and 2,004 students in 32 cities in Brazil. We also, launched two new programs: OutSpoken, an interactive language skills program for Brazilian educators, and English for Executives, a two week English language intensive for Brazilian executives.

Our Vision

In 2016, US-Brazil Connect will continue to offer the Conexão Mundo program and Fellowship. The organization is committed to conscious leadership development and healthy teams. We are focusing on sustainability and broadening our coalition of supporters in the US and abroad. We are excited to develop new partnerships that support our mission.

Our Impact in Action