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Connecting with Brazil

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, October 4, 2006

What do you think of when someone mentions Brazil? Pelé, the rainforest, and Carnaval costumes? Stereotypes inevitably result from sporadic U.S. media attention and relatively less coverage than that of other regions of the world, namely the Middle East.

Daily, as I respond to phone calls and constituent mail in the Cultural and Public Affairs sector of the Brazilian Embassy, I realize that many Americans want to know more about Brazil than just World Cup players, palm trees, and swimsuits. Enjoy the events of this week -Brazil Week – as springboards into an expanded understanding of our important neighbor to the south.

As the global energy crisis grows more severe, more Americans recognize Brazil as a potentially great source of alternative fuel. However, Brazil and the U.S. are more than just trade partners. The historical cultural bonds between the two nations are strong. Few people realize that in the past century, Brazilian artists influenced classical music and opera in the United States. Likewise, Brazilians transformed American jazz and rock and roll into unique expressions.

Because cultural exchange is a critical aspect of expanding fellowship between nations, I encourage you to increase your awareness of Brazil by attending Brazil Week events. Participating in such cultural events by savoring unique Brazilian cultural differences will not only enrich your Notre Dame experience, but also will enhance international relations at a grassroots level.

Megan Sheehan


Class of 2006

Oct. 3