Why Brazil? Ambassador, non-profit leader and entrepreneur advocate
A Brazilian ambassador, non-profit foundation leader and successful entrepreneur addressed RE upper schoolers on Valentine’s Day, sharing their love for Brazil and making a pitch for learning Portuguese and exploring the culture of a nation with 125 companies and some 40,000 registered voters in Florida.
Students in RE’s Brazilian and Lusophone Club invited the panel of speakers: Ambassador André Odenbreit Carvalho of the Consulate General of Brazil in Miami; Rejane de Paula P’26 a member of the Advisory Committee for BrazilFoundation; and Chris Torto P’24, an entrepreneur who founded successful cable and data center businesses in Brazil.
The speakers at the Feb. 14 event at the Lewis Family Auditorium talked about the importance of fthe South American country that takes up a third of the continent and includes nationals of Portuguese, Indigenous and African descent and immigrants from throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.
“Throughout the country you have this difference in cultures, difference in accents … but in the middle of this, you have this very strong core unity,” Carvalho said. “It’s an example of how you build unity out of diversity … There is very much to be gained by building ties with the Portuguese language and Portuguese culture.”
Torto explained that he landed in Brazil after seeking a tech job in Italy. He arrived in 1987 with no knowledge of Portuguese, and soon fell in love with the country and sought to take advantage of the economic opportunity there. He started a cable television company in 1995 and a data center business in 2008.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I took an opportunity,” he said. “I took a less-traveled path.”
De Paula talked about her work with the BrazilFoundation, which was founded in 2000. Among its goals: promote equality, work for social justice and ensure economic opportunity for all Brazilians. The guests were introduced by club leaders Natasha do Valle ’23, president; Laura Teofilo ’23, vice president; and Julia Torto ’24, secretary. Faculty members Drew Cardinale and Felipe Marin Vaz Amaro serve as club advisors.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.