The HBCU delegations’ successful visit to Brazil culminated with the Minster of Education’s public announcement of a new scholarship program to fund Brazilian students going to HBCUs. This program will go beyond SwB to also include studies in humanities and communications. The Minster ended his remarks by praising Martin Luther King and quoting from the “Dream” speech. This program had nearly perfect public diplomacy pitch.
Posts in Rio, São Paulo and Brasília shared the responsibly for escorting two groups of HBCU leaders. It was a big investment in time but worth it. Besides the clear benefits for the HBCUs, this was a wonderful opportunity for us to make and renew contacts with important academic leaders inside and outside the usual big cities.
We spoke at a post initiated but Brazilian run seminar on how Brazilian universities can attract American students. Sixty-three Brazilian universities were represented. We asked PUC Rio to organize and sponsor the program since they are the most successful Brazilian university in attracting American students. Brazilians sharing experience with Brazilians does more to advance the 100,000 Strong initiatives than anything we ourselves could do. The only USG expense was my travel and paying for a coffee break. That the universities are paying their own way shows their commitment.
U.S. Speakers Mark and Valerie Wynn continued their series of workshops and talks about domestic violence, this time in Minas and Pernambuco.
Recife PAO met with ABA (BNC) President Eduardo Carvalho who will return to Harvard next week to finish up his one-year Advanced Leadership Seminar.
PA São Paulo, in partnership with SESC and SENAC, launched the book Shared Heritage at Livraria da Vila at JK Shopping, in a cocktail attended by approximately 200 hundred key contacts from government, academic, literary and NGO sectors. As part of the event, PA organized a photo exhibit of works by American and Brazilian photographers on the African, Indigenous, European and current immigrants influence in both countries, originally displayed at the four shared heritage festivals.
Our main social media campaign of the week was the 50th anniversary of the March to Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech anniversary. Posts on Facebook had great reach and interaction with mostly positive comments regarding MLK, America, President Obama and the fight against segregation. Posts had a total of over 62K people reached, total of 278 shares on Facebook. Even the cover photo about MLK had a lot of interaction, with 30 shares, which is uncommon for a cover photo change. On Twitter, tweets had a total more than 1.2 million potential impressions.