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Press Releases

DENVER December 17, 2015 — US-Brazil Connect received a $45,000 grant from the U.S. Embassy in Brazil. The grant will support a visit of 88 Brazilian high school students to Denver from January 31 through February 13, 2016. The visit furthers global skills development in both countries.

The exchange is a part of the year-long program, Conexão Mundo (World Connect), developed by US-Brazil Connect in partnership with the Brazilian Confederation of Industry/SESI/SENAI. Brazil’s industry federations represent more than 350,000 employers in Brazil and play a critical leadership role in the development of the economy and workforce of the country.

The partnership has built global leadership and language skills by creating lasting connections between Brazil and the United States since 2012. More than 500 U.S. college students, young professionals, and leaders have traveled to Brazil to work with 5000 Brazilian technical students on language development, team dynamics, and other valuable leadership and workforce skills.

“The U.S. 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.  “US-Brazil Connect is not only building key workforce skills in both countries, it is also helping to deepen the understanding between our two great democracies and demonstrate how public/private collaboration can provide real leadership for education, civilian diplomacy, and economic opportunity.”

Eleven Colorado schools and partners are joining with US-Brazil Connect to welcome the Brazilian delegates to Colorado, including: Oracle, Denver Center for International Studies, Highline Academy, East High School, Denver Center for International Studies/Montbello, South High School, Monarch High School, Foothill Elementary, George Washington High School, SkyView Academy, and Palomino Park.

“This grant is an exciting step forward for US-Brazil Connect. It enables more connections between the U.S. and Brazil while creating opportunities for students who will create innovation in both countries,” states Mary Gershwin, president of US Brazil Connect. “We are looking forward to welcoming 88 top-notch Brazilian students at the end of January and are so grateful to the U.S. Embassy in Brazil and our partners in Colorado for their support.”

According to Sergio Moreira, deputy director of Brazil’s National Confederation of Industry (CNI), the partnership with US-Brazil Connect addresses Brazil’s need for a highly skilled, globally-competent technical workforce. “The students selected for this trip represent hundreds of outstanding Brazilian youth who have participated on global teams, developed new skills in English, and helped to educate the United States about Brazil as a part of our partnership with US-Brazil Connect,” said Moreira. “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.”

The student delegation represents 20 Brazilian states, including the Federal District of Brasilia.  Participating states are: Alagoas, Amazonas, Amapá, Bahia, Espirito Santo, Goiás, Minas Gerias, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Paraíba, Paraná, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rondônia, Santa Catarina, Sergipe, and São Paulo.

Six U.S. community colleges are members of the US-Brazil Connect Consortium: Jackson College, Miami Dade College, Flathead Valley Community College, Northwestern Community College, Kirkwood Community College, and Spokane Community Colleges.

For more information or to learn more about sponsoring the program, go to, contact Rebecca Yount, Communications and Development Manager at 720-338-8839, or email

About US Brazil Connect

US-Brazil Connect is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting education, elevating cultural understanding, and advancing commerce between the Western Hemisphere’s two largest nations. Based in Denver, US-Brazil Connect leads Conexão Mundo, an intensive international exchange program for Brazilian youth and U.S. college students and emerging young professionals. US-Brazil Connect has a proven track record of changing lives and creating economic opportunity for participants, impacting more than 6000 young people and leaders in business and education, earning the ongoing support of the Brazilian Confederation of Industry. US-Brazil Connect also links business interests and promotes cross-border collaboration on education and workforce excellence.
About The Brazilian Confederation of Industry/SESI/SENAI
Representing over 350,000 businesses throughout Brazil, the Brazilian Confederation of Industry (CNI) is one of the largest trade associations in the world.  CNI has affiliate organizations in 26 states and the Federal District of Brazil. The SESI and SENAI education programs of CNI operate over 700 technical training schools in Brazil, serving 5 million students annually.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Top Brazilian Business Leaders Arrive in Denver

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Denver-based nonprofit, US-Brazil Connect, is partnering with the Brazilian Federation of Industry from the state of Rondônia (FIERO) on a pilot program, Immersion for Industry Leaders. Nine CEOs of privately-held Brazilian companies will be in Denver through October 31, focused on building skills and relationships required for increased global trade and exchange. The delegation includes the president of the Federation of Industry of Rondonia, a board member from the National Confederation of Industry, and presidents of the industry associations for mining, food industries, and clothing manufacturing in Rondonia.

The Brazilian delegation is returning after a successful visit in 2013 that included meetings with Governor Hickenlooper, Mayor Hancock, and Lt. Governor Garcia. The exchange from two years ago resulted in the expansion of US-Brazil Connect’s partnership with the Brazilian Confederation of Industry, entitled Conexao Mundo (World Connection.) The program has engaged over 500 U.S. college students, graduate students and professionals in month-long service learning experiences in Brazil, working with more than 5000 Brazilian high school students.

“Immersion for Industry Leaders brings US-Brazil Connect’s innovative methods of learning to the industry leaders that helped create programs for youth,” said Mary Gershwin, President of US-Brazil Connect. “The executives saw what we created for students and asked for innovative approaches to meet their own needs. This pilot program is allowing us to work together to create a new model that meets their needs while also strengthening our partnership.”

Marcelo Thomé da Silva de Almeida, President of the Federation of Industry of Rondônia, is leading the delegation. “After more than fifteen years of sustained economic growth, Brazil is now facing severe economic and political challenges,” said Mr Almeida. “The question is: How will Brazil move forward? For us in Rondonia, the commitment is to strengthen the capacity of our industry by building on the assets Brazil developed through years of growth. Among our strengths today, the most important is the emerging generation of industry leaders who came of age in a time of impressive economic growth, and are now committed to overcoming current challenges to create long-term economic and political stability.”

During their two-week stay in Colorado, the executives are participating in English classes modeled after the Conexão Mundo program. They are also building networks with Colorado business leaders through events with the World Trade Center Denver, the International Business Circle, Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver, the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, and visits to local industry.

The delegation was organized by Denis Bau, a member of the board of Brazil’s National Confederation of Industry. Mr. Bau appreciates the value of Conexão Mundo’s unique program. “For business executives, this cultural exchange offers great impact on many levels. As we build personal relationships and work on our English language skills, we also have the opportunity to create professional networks here in Colorado that will provide mutual benefit in the future.”

In February, US-Brazil Connect and Colorado partners will deepen their relationship with the Confederation of Industry of Brazil through the hosting of a delegation of 85 outstanding Brazilian high school students, selected from 2000 that participated in US- Brazil Connect/Confederation of Industry programs in Brazil this year. Governor Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock are planning a top-level leadership mission to Brazil in June, 2016, underscoring this unique friendship and commitment to ongoing exchange.

Friday, July 31, 2015
Brazil’s Minister of Education Visits US-Brazil Connect Partnership in Action
Brasilia, Brasil

Brazil’s Minister of Education, Renato Janine Ribeiro, heard about the success of a unique educational collaboration between the Denver-based nonprofit, US-Brazil Connect, and Brazil’s SESI/SEAI technical schools, which helps Brazilian students practice English and learn leadership skill. So he decided to visit the program this month in Brasilia.

“I came here to learn,” Mr. Ribeiro told the group of about 150 Brazilian students and US-Brazil Connect Fellows who create and learn together in the Conexão Mundo Program. “On the part of the Brazilian government, we have an interest in learning from successful experiences so we can see what can be incorporated in Brazilian education at a large scale.”

He stressed the importance of learning another language as a way to connect with new cultures and gain essential skills for opportunity in a global economy. He also spoke about educational innovation and the role of national leadership in Brazil to expand successful programs so more students can benefit.

Mr. Ribeiro was accompanied by Gilberto Carvalho, Board President of SESI; Sergio Moreira, Deputy Education Director from Brazil’s National Confederation of Industry; and Mary Gershwin, President of US-Brazil Connect. Representing the U.S. Embassy in Brazil was Brian Bayer, Cultural Attaché from the Public and Cultural Affairs Division.

“An educational exchange to Brazil changed my life years ago, and our work today is based on a simple reality. Authentic connections of Brazilian and U.S. students produce much more than improved language skills–real connections change lives, build lifelong opportunities, and can transform the planet,” said Mary Gershwin, US-Brazil Connect President. She welcomes the possibility of expanding the proven Conexão Mundo model of collaboration and learning with public schools of Brazil.

The US-Brazil Connect Fellowship Team from Kirkwood Community College in Iowa and more than 100 students from the Taguatinga and Gama SESI/SENAI schools participated in the meeting with the Education Minister in person. Meanwhile, US-Brazil Connect team members and Brazilian students from four other Brazilian states –Bahia, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina — joined via Google Hangout.

During his visit, Mr. Ribeiro explored the design of the partnership that is garnering attention throughout Brazil.  In 2012, US-Brazil Connect joined forces with Brazil’s National Confederation of Industry and its SESI and SENAI educational systems to create Conexão Mundo.  Since then, more than 500 US-Brazil Connect fellows and leaders from around the U.S. have traveled to Brazil to work with more than 5,000 high school and technical school students. This year, US-Brazil Connect teams went to 32 Brazilian cities. Conexão Mundo strengthens language fluency, builds global leadership skills, and forges deep connections between citizens of the two nations.

The program begins in the US with selection of 200 US-Brazil Connect Fellows and Team Leaders.  These participants are divided into smaller groups and placed on teams—usually around five fellows and two leaders per team.  After about 4 weeks of distance-based training and preparation, the US teams are assigned to service in a Brazilian school and each American is introduced to their group of 12 Brazilian high school students.  The Brazilian students are in SESI and SENAI high schools in Brazil, speak Portuguese as their primary language, but have studied English in school.

Next, the shared work begins.  In the first phase of working together, interaction is via Facebook and Google hangouts as Brazilians and Americans spend 8 weeks working through a structured curriculum.
After this distance-based phase, the US teams travel to their designated cities in Brazil where they meet their Brazilian students face to face and work together in an immersion experience that participants from both sides describe as “life-changing”.  The US teams return to home and implement another distance phase with the structured curriculum for another six weeks.  Finally, the top Brazilian participants are selected for a study trip to the U.S. The program ends after five months, but the connections and learning continue for years afterwards.

Brittany Moschke, Kirkwood Community College Fellow from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, commented about the program during the visit of Mr. Ribeiro, “Conexão Mundo has been a life-changing experience for me and everyone on my team.  US-Brazil Connect has given us an amazing opportunity to grow and become more well-rounded. It is humbling knowing that Brazil’s Minister of Education visited the school where I am coaching to hear about this awesome program from us and some of the students.”

Scott Gacon, coordinator for the US-Brazil Connect leadership team in Distrito Federal, noted, “This visit was particularly special because the Brazilian students created and led the majority of the presentations. Working with coaches from Kirkwood Community College, they presented on each phase of the Conexão Mundo program and shared two assembly skits with the guests. Overall, it was a great day for Conexão Mundo and the educational partnership between the United States and Brazil, as illustrated by US-Brazil Connect, SESI/SENAI and the CNI.”

Gershwin said, “We are honored by the Minister’s visit and look forward to continuing our work together with CNI to connect with and inspire Brazilian youth as they learn English, chase their hopes and dreams and prepare for careers in the global marketplace.”

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

DENVER, CO   Six community colleges have selected 56 outstanding students to serve as US-Brazil Connect Community College Fellows this summer. The Fellows will develop global leadership skills and a deep knowledge of Brazil through work as mentors to Brazilian high school students.

“Community colleges must lead in building global connections,” said Dan Phelan, President of Jackson Community College and incoming Chair of the Board of the American Association of Community Colleges. “It’s vital that our students attain a high level of global and cultural competence, and our efforts with US-Brazil Connect further that goal. This year, Jackson Community College is pleased to expand our work with Brazil as we send a team of 14 students to Salvador, Bahia.”

Jackson College, Kirkwood Community College, Community Colleges of Spokane, Northwestern Michigan College, Flathead Valley Community College and Miami Dade College are members of the Community College Fellowship all partnering with US-Brazil Connect for its 2015 Conexão Mundo Community College Fellowship Program. In its fourth year, the Conexão Mundo program pairs Brazilian high school students with students and young professionals in the US to expose students and mentors to global learning experiences and cross-cultural competency.

Each of the selected Community College Fellows will spend 18 weeks working with a small group of Brazilian students online and on the ground in Brazil, coaching them in English language acquisition techniques. Meanwhile, the Fellows will also complete a curriculum built to improve leadership skills and cooperation across cultural boundaries. The combination of coaching and the supporting curriculum gives Community College Fellows a strong basis in international experience and cross-cultural understanding that is essential for personal and professional development.

Study abroad programs have increased in popularity across US campuses as students and educators recognize the value of global leadership skills in an increasingly interconnected world economy. Even so, community college students do not study abroad at the rate of their peers at state and private universities. According to a 2008 report published by the Institute for International Education (IIE), fewer than three percent of those who studied abroad were community college students.  Considering that community college students make up over 45% of all US students in college, there is a great need for improvement.

The Conexão Mundo program offers a unique opportunity for community colleges. Because Fellows fill an acknowledged need for expanded English language learning in Brazil in the SESI/SENAI school systems, community college students can work their way to a life-changing experience abroad. Such opportunities can be key career differentiators as community college students seek high-quality, affordable ways to prepare for work in a globalized economy.

“Twenty years ago, community colleges prepared students for a mostly localized job market. But as technology has decreased distances between geographic regions, community colleges have sought programs that prepare students to solve problems that span the boundaries of language and culture,” explained Dr. Mary Gershwin, President of US-Brazil Connect.

“US-Brazil Connect and our member colleges are proud to partner with CNI in Brazil,” said Dr. Gershwin. “This partnership does more than create academic exchange. It models how two large systems — in this case, community colleges in the US and the SENAI/SESI system in Brazil — can come together in an affordable, accessible, and sustainable way to meet the needs of students and communities.”



Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Denver, CO – US-Brazil Connect and the Brazilian Confederation of Industry (CNI) have launched a new international leadership fellowship for students studying science, technology, engineering, and/or math (STEM) at US colleges and universities.

”Experience abroad is increasingly essential for STEM professionals that wish to have global careers,” explained Eleanor Allen, US-Brazil Connect Board member and Director of Global Water for Arcadis. “Even so, too few US students in those fields are participating in international learning experiences. Through our partnership with the CNI, we are creating an innovative model for STEM students from the US to gain invaluable cross-cultural experience working on the ground with technical students from Brazil.”

The nine US-Brazil Connect STEM Fellows selected for the 2015 program year will gain global leadership skills and deep understanding of Brazil through their service as mentors to Brazilian students who attend high school in the SESI or SENAI school systems–networks of technical schools tasked with preparing Brazil’s next industrial workforce. Fellows complete an extensive training curriculum to prepare for leadership in Brazil. Participants in the pilot program will also advise US-Brazil Connect on the program design for replication and potential expansion in 2016.

In exchange for hard work throughout the summer program, US-Brazil Connect STEM Fellows receive a scholarship valued at over $8500 to cover the full cost of the program, including travel and living expenses over the four-week trip to Brazil.   When asked about how she felt about being selected for the STEM Fellowship, Shanice Bennett said:  I feel honored to be chosen to participate in this program. I also feel inspired by the friends I have already made within the program to enjoy life to the fullest, while leaving a legacy. For me, this is an opportunity to uplift and inspire the world’s next generation of global leaders. I am looking forward to seeing my students’ growth in the program, as well as the life lessons I will learn from exploring a new culture.”

The STEM Fellowship is the latest part of US-Brazil Connect’s highly successful partnership with the Brazilian Confederation of Industry in the Conexão Mundo program. Those interested in applying for the STEM Fellowship in 2016 can learn more about the fellowship at the US-Brazil Connect website.   Applicants must be at least 18 years old and be enrolled in a science, technology, engineering or math program at an accredited, four-year college or university.


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Denver, CO – The Conexão Mundo program—a groundbreaking, innovative international education collaboration between the Brazilian Confederation of Industry (CNI) and US-Brazil Connect—will have a broader reach than ever in 2015. The bi-national educational exchange will now reach 32 schools in 20 Brazilian states, increasing from 18 states in 2014. Seven Brazilian cities will also host the program for the first time. Together with the other sites that are multi-year partners in the program, Conexão Mundo will offer spaces for 137 US Fellows, 67 US Team Leaders and 2,004 Brazilian students.

US-Brazil Connect Fellows and Team Leaders learned of their site assignments last month. The announcement of Brazilian cities elicited cheers at the nonprofit’s offices in Denver, Colorado.

“When you are placed in unfamiliar circumstances, a new part of you comes alive,” said Team Leader Brenton Weyi, who is very excited about his team assignment to Contagem in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.

Unlike most international education programs, Conexão Mundo optimizes both physical and digital classrooms. US Fellows spend four weeks in Brazil helping students improve their fluency in and confidence with the English language through collaboration and interactive learning. Before and after that time, students and Fellows work together on Facebook and Google Hangouts to build relationships with one another and refine English skills using technology as a means of connection and distance education.

At the end of the program, the top five percent of students in the 2015 Conexão Mundo program from each site will be chosen to travel to the US.

“The program not only improves the English of young people. It also improves their confidence in other disciplines and prepares them with key skills to succeed in a globalized workforce,” said Sérgio Moreira, the Assistant Director of Education and Technology at CNI.

Conexão Mundo has a similar benefit for US participants hoping to sharpen their skills in international management. Over the course of the 18-week program, each US Fellow completes a rigorous curriculum built to improve leadership skills and cooperation across cultural boundaries.

“Our educational model has succeeded by our listening to and meeting the needs of Brazilians—not by imposing our own assumptions. Collaboration has helped make our fellowships affordable, but we also want that to be a key lesson for our Fellows. The 21st century economy awards creative partnerships, not traditional dogmas,” explained US-Brazil Connect Education Director Susan Gershwin.

US-Brazil Connect Founder and President Mary Gershwin sees another exciting point in the announcement: the chance to build connections with Brazilian communities new to the program, and deepen connections with those already participating.

“The friendships people develop through Conexão Mundo are the lifeblood of the program, because they open new avenues to learning, especially in the digital age,” she explained. “We are thrilled to be welcoming so many amazing communities into the Conexão Mundo family.”

2015 Conexão Mundo Sites

Aparecide de Goiânia, Goiânia
Aracaju, Sergipe
Bayeux, Paraíba
Blumenau, Santa Catarina
Cacoal, Rondônia
Campinas, São Paulo
Cariacica, Espírito Santo
Contagem, Minas Gerais
Corumbá, Mato Grosso do Sul
Cuiabá, Mato Grosso
Curitiba, Paraná
Distrito Federal
Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul
Jaraguá do Sul, Santa Catarina
Joinville, Santa Catarina
Linhares, Espírito Santo
Macapá, Amapá
Maceió, Alagoas
Manaus, Amazonas
Maringá, Paraná
Natal, Rio Grande do Norte
Parnaíba, Piauí
Paulista, Pernambuco
Petrolina, Pernambuco
Ponta Grossa, Paraná
Porto Velho, Rondônia
Recife, Pernambuco
Salvador, Bahia
Santa Cruz, Rio de Janeiro
Três Lagoas, Mato Grosso do Sul
Vespasiano, Minas Gerais
Vila Velha, Espírito Santo

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Denver, CO –  US-Brazil Connect has announced its new class of 137 Fellows, including Global Leaders, Community College Fellows, STEM Fellows, and Senior Fellows. Selected through a competitive application and interview process, the Fellows hail from 26 US states, representing disciplines ranging from computer science to the visual arts. Many fellows are traveling abroad for the first time.

“The US-Brazil Connect Fellowship is not tourism and it’s not old-style charity work,” explained US-Brazil Connect President and Founder Mary Gershwin. “It’s a true partnership in global leadership based on shared investment, mutual learning and development of authentic relationships. In addition to  creating deep connections with Brazil and developing global leadership skills that can serve them for decades, our Fellows are helping to build a new model for international exchange and service.”

US-Brazil Connect Fellows receive a scholarship of support valued at over $8500, including intensive training, professional support, lodging/meals for four weeks in Brazil, and a stipend. Fellows make a commitment to their personal growth and serve as coaches to help Brazilian technical students practice English. By using a combination of distance learning through Facebook and Google Hangout and in-person contact, US-Brazil Connect Fellows lead teams of Brazilian youth, and focus on building confidence, language skills, and connection through interpersonal relationships.

US-Brazil Connect created the fellowship in partnership with the SENAI/SESI technical education system of the Brazilian Confederation of Industry. Launched in 2012, when the first class of 20 Fellows from US community colleges traveled to Brazil to coach 200 high school students to improve their confidence and English language skills, the program has now grown to work with more than 2000 students at 32 sites within 20 Brazilian states. This groundbreaking educational collaboration, entitled Conexao Mundo (World Connection), has sent over 500 US-Brazil Connect Fellows and Leaders to Brazil to learn and work with over 5000 Brazilian students.

There are now four US-Brazil Connect Fellowship Programs:  The Community College Fellowship expands opportunity for global leadership experiences for community college students and operates in partnership with Flathead Valley Community College, Jackson College, Kirkwood Community College, Northwestern Michigan College, and Community Colleges of Spokane.  The Global Leaders Fellowship recruits top university students and emerging professionals from 26 US states. This year’s class includes Fellows attending schools such as Northwestern University, the University of Colorado system, and the University of California at Berkeley. The Senior Fellows Program is open to outstanding fellows that have made a significant contribution in their first year of involvement with Conexão Mundo and want to help others succeed in the program by sharing their experiences. This year, US-Brazil Connect is piloting its first US-Brazil Connect STEM Fellowship, engaging outstanding students from STEM disciplines to expose them to cross-cultural leadership and learning opportunities.

“The emphasis on partnership is a refreshing approach to international education,” commented Erika Quinonez, a  2015 Global Leaders Fellow. “I look forward most to learning, sharing, and coaching my group of Brazilian students as they strive to achieve their personal, professional, and English-language goals.” A recent graduate of Latin American and Latino Studies form the University of California Santa Cruz, Erika will spend her Global Leaders Fellowship coaching a group of students from the Brazilian city of Maceió, Alagoas.

“We are absolutely ecstatic to have such a talented and diverse group of Fellows for the 2015 Conexão Mundo Program year,” commented Kerri-Ann Appleton, Global Partnership Director for US-Brazil Connect. “I am sure the connections they will build with our Brazilian students and one another will inspire life-long learning across the Western Hemisphere.”

Learn more about the 2015 Fellows

US-Brazil Connect is a non-profit based in Denver, CO. working to strengthen education and build economic opportunities by connecting communities, engaging leaders and creating transformative learning experiences between the United States and Brazil.

Conexão Mundo, a partnership of US-Brazil Connect, the Brazilian Confederation of Industry (CNI), the National Apprenticeship Service of Brazil (SENAI), the Social Service for Industry of Brazil (SESI)–is a large-scale, innovative initiative designed to improve the English of Brazilian technical students, while also providing immersion opportunities for top US college students and young professionals.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Denver, CO – US-Brazil Connect and its partner, the Brazilian Confederation of Industry (CNI), have launched a new international leadership fellowship for students studying science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) at US colleges and universities.

“‘Competence as a global professional is increasingly essential to career success in the STEM fields,” explained Mary Gershwin, President and Founder of US-Brazil Connect. “Even so, few US students in those fields are participating in international learning experiences. Through our partnership with the CNI, we are creating an innovative model for STEM students from the US to gain invaluable experience working on the ground with technical students from Brazil.”

STEM students with an interest in international work are encouraged to review the application and apply. All applications must be submitted online by March 29, 2015.

The first cohort of STEM Fellows will serve as mentors for Brazilian students who attend high school in the SESI or SENAI school systems–networks of technical schools tasked with preparing Brazil’s next industrial workforce.

The US-Brazil Connect STEM Fellows will spend four weeks coaching English-language skills in Brazil for the benefit of these top high school students while gaining first-experience as leaders working in a foreign context. Before and after the travel, Fellows will work with students online to develop personal connections, help the students practice English, and learn about work and life in Brazil.

Throughout the program, US-Brazil Connect STEM Fellows gain skills in leadership of global teams and awareness of industry in Brazil. Selected Fellows complete an extensive training curriculum to prepare for work as mentors. Participants in the pilot program will also advise US-Brazil Connect on the program design for replication and potential expansion in 2016.

In exchange for hard work throughout the summer program, US-Brazil Connect STEM Fellows receive a scholarship valued at over $12,000 to cover the full cost of the program including travel and all living expenses over the four-week trip to Brazil.

The STEM program is modeled on US-Brazil Connect’s highly successfulConexão Mundo Partnership with the Brazilian Confederation of Industry.  Since 2012, more than 300 US participants have traveled to Brazil through the program and over 3,000 Brazilian students have participated.

Those interested in applying can learn more about the fellowship at the US-Brazil Connect website. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and be enrolled in a science, technology, engineering or math program at an accredited four-year university.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

On the heels of a successful 2014 Conexão Mundo Program, US-Brazil Connect has hired 68 Team Leaders to guide the program through the 2015 program year.

Team Leaders fill two key positions in the Conexão Mundo Program: Team Coordinators and Education/Facilitation Specialists. Team Coordinators handle the day-to-day logistics of the program as US Fellows and Senior Fellows coach Brazilian students online and on-the-ground in Brazil. The Education/Facilitation Specialists implement US-Brazil Connect’s education curriculum to help Fellows improve their global leadership skills and Brazilian students build confidence and ability in the English language.

The newest leadership cohort includes professionals working in education, nonprofit administration, international relations, politics and other fields. Most either live in Colorado or work for one of US-Brazil Connect’s community college partners.

The Team Leaders met for the first time for a two-day workshop on February 7th and 8th at Regis University.  Susan Gershwin, US-Brazil Connect’s Conexão Mundo Co-Director, is confident the Team Leaders will be up to the task.

“Team Leaders are the key to creating the healthy, flexible teams that have made Conexão Mundo a success for three consecutive years,” she commented. “We are excited to see how these incredible 2015 Team Leaders will build on each of their personal strengths to inspire their Fellows and their Brazilian students.”

Thursday, March 05, 2015

There are a few simple reasons most Fellows and students sign up for US-Brazil Connect’s Conexão Mundo Program. Brazilian students see the program as an opportunity to improve their ability and confidence in the English language. For US Fellows, Conexão Mundo offers a unique chance to build global leadership skills. World leaders have been drawn to Conexão Mundo and similar international exchange programs for a slightly more complicated reason: citizen diplomacy. Broadly defined as the engagement of individual citizens in diplomatic efforts, citizen diplomacy has recently gained attention as a key tool for improving US-Brazil relations.

The Obama Administration has committed to strengthening ties between the US and Latin America with its “100,000 Strong in the Americas” initiative. As the name suggests, the goal of the effort is to increase the number of US university students studying in Latin America to 100,000 and the number of Latin America students studying in the US to 100,000 by 2020.

“The Obama Administration understands that education and basic human connections are key in re-creating a productive, vibrant relationship between US and Brazil, especially as that relationship overcomes challenges to embrace a future of shared opportunity” commented Reggie Hubbard, US-Brazil Connect’s Global Leaders Program Manager. Hubbard also recently supported Vice-President Joe Biden on a trip to congratulate Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff on her recent inauguration.

Brazil has brought a new focus to educational exchange through its Science without Borders Program. President Rouseff has committed $1.36 billion to the initiative as of 2013, offering scholarships for Brazilian students to study at foreign universities and intern at foreign companies focused on the STEM disciplines.

On a smaller scale, US-Brazil Connect has long relied on the support of diplomats as it worked to connect communities in the US and Brazil. US-Brazil Connect won an initial grant from the US Embassy in Brazil to start Conexão Mundo in 2012. Since then, diplomats have spoken at several opening and closing ceremonies for Conexão Mundo.

US-Brazil Connect President Mary Gershwin hopes to continue to leverage Conexão Mundo toward the goals of citizen diplomacy. “We should never underestimate the power of people-to-people connections to form a bedrock of goodwill for international relationships and peace.”

In the News

Over the years our program has received some pretty amazing press. Check out the news articles we’ve been featured in.

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