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Brazil week promotes cultural awareness

Colleen Shula | Monday, October 2, 2006

A film viewing, a social hour and concerts headline Notre Dame’s third annual Brazil week, an event beginning today that’s meant to celebrate Brazilian culture and encourage a greater appreciation of it.

“It’s a very lively culture that draws a lot of people,” said Juliana de Sousa Solis, a member of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, who helped plan and organize the week.

Events run from Monday through Thursday and begin with a showing of the movie “Favela Rising” on Monday night. The film, which has won 24 national and international film festival awards, documents social revolutionary Anderson Sá as he rallies against the violent oppression in his Rio de Janeiro community. Irene Rizzini, visiting chair in the Study of Brazilian Culture, will introduce the film and will lead a discussion after the showing.

On Tuesday there will be a Brazilian social hour called “Bate-Papo” at the Hesburgh Center. It will include music by the Brazilian choir ContraCantos and Brazilian band Arabiando. The social hour will also have Brazilian appetizers and maracuja, a Brazilian passion fruit juice.

ContraCantos and Arabiando will perform again on Thursday evening at Washington Hall. The two groups will join together to play a variety of Brazilian music, including jazz and beach dance.

The choir and band will also perform during the week at two South Bend schools, Coquillard Elementary and John Adams High. Kelly Roberts, the publications and communications manager of the Kellogg Institute, said Brazil Week is more than just a campus event.

“We are hoping to bring a few exciting bits of Brazil to South Bend,” Roberts said.

De Sousa Solis, who is half Brazilian, also believes it is important to extend the event to the community.

“One of the big goals is to give not only Notre Dame, but also the Midwest, the opportunity to experience the best of Brazilian culture,” she said. “I think it’s an important culture to be exposed to. It has such an eclectic background.”

One of the sponsors of Brazil Week is the Program in Portuguese and Brazilian studies. Established five years ago, the Program offers courses in Portuguese language and Brazilian culture. The Kellogg Institute has organized summer internships in Brazil for Notre Dame students as part of the program.

The University also offers study abroad programs in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Funding for the week’s events originated in 2000 when the Kellogg Institute formed a partnership with the Brazilian Ministry of Culture at Notre Dame. The first Brazil Week was held in the spring of 2005 in conjunction with the partnership.

Other sponsors of Brazil Week include the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, International Student Services and Activities, the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre and the Institute for Latino Studies.