10 April 2014 - 12 April 2014

Brazil's place in the world

Chair: Minister Celso Lafer

Early spring saw us discussing Brazil, almost exactly eight years after the last time we had looked at her global prospects. Some issues raised then were still there, but the context was now different, and the opportunities and challenges certainly worth another close look. We had many different views represented around the table, and although we would have liked some more voices from the region, and from the business and financial worlds, it was still a lively debate, not least about Brazil’s regional role. Authoritative and skilful chairmanship helped steer us in constructive directions.

Brazil had made huge progress, politically and economically, in recent years, and had the building blocks for lasting success firmly in place, on the basis of a broad political consensus. Future challenges should be manageable, since she had so many natural advantages, but there were nevertheless concerns about economic competitiveness, and the openness of the Brazilian economy; and about how to address the demands of the middle classes for better public services and greater political representation of their interests. The questions raised by recent street protests could not be ignored. Other major domestic issues included the quality of public education, energy policy, and public security. One question in our minds was how successfully such challenges could be addressed without reform of the political system.

Views were divided about what kind of role Brazil was playing, and should play, in the region. Some saw her as a uniquely benevolent giant, committed to regional integration and helping regional stability through her behind the scenes, non-prescriptive role in countries facing problems such as Venezuela. Others suggested that she might be benevolent but was effectively neglecting the region, through lack of sufficient engagement, which was leading to fragmentation and polarisation, rather than integration. Mercosur in particular was in urgent need of revitalisation. Brazil was also not defending actively her values of democracy and human rights protection because she was not speaking out against abuses in the region. On the trade side, Brazil was currently on the margins, because she was not part of the Pacific-led efforts to increase free trade, or of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

We could not resolve these differences, but noted that there was a generally agreed need to define better what regional integration might mean, and to find agreed ways of moving this agenda forward.

This should include infrastructure, as well as cultural interchange, and better cooperation in areas like drugs and crime, the environment, and research.

On the global front, there were also differing perceptions, partly between Brazilians and outsiders, but also to some extent reflecting a north/south divide. All regarded Brazil as an important global player whose role should grow further. We recognised that foreign policy-making in Brazil was now a far more complex affair, reflecting the country’s diversity and political maturity. Beyond that, some saw Brazil as pursuing an active and positive international policy, promoting peace, reconciliation and better global governance through multilateralism. She was western in culture and values, but otherwise a southern, developing country. She was not playing, and would not play, the kind of prescriptive, interventionist role western powers would like her to adopt. Nor did she have to make choices between different groups of counties or sets of attitudes. But that did not mean she was either passive, or favouring the authoritarian status quo where she did not speak out.

Others thought that Brazil, lucky to have no enemies and to live far from the main centres of conflict, was taking advantage of her ability to sit on the fence, and preferred to dodge difficult questions about where she stood and what she really wanted in the world. When she did come off the fence, it was usually on the non-western side, which cast doubt on her espousal of western values and claimed independence.

Again we could not reach any kind of easy consensus, and recognised that there was not a straight choice between these two visions, in a complex and difficult world. Brazil would continue to find her own way. She might nevertheless need to take more account of the perceptions of others if she wanted to be seen as a country with real weight and influence in the world beyond areas such as the environment.

Internal developments and their relevance to Brazil’s international policy
Our main remit was not to look in detail at what was happening inside Brazil, or to make recommendations about this. However, we could not ignore the consequences for her international role of the progress Brazil had made, and of the areas where there were still major issues to be tackled. Our starting point was admiration of the extent to which Brazil had put in place some major building blocks for success: robust democracy; strong institutions; and macro-economic stability. It was important that these had come to be seen as achievements which transcended individual Presidencies and administrations, and which were not to be tampered with. The degree of continuity on these big issues between Presidents Cardoso and Lula, despite their major differences in other respects, and now with President Rousseff too, had been striking. The reduction of economic inequalities, and the dramatic raising of the incomes of the poor, were also huge achievements, rare in today’s world, which should not be underestimated.

At the same time, there was no doubt that the country still faced significant political and economic problems and needed new energy and new approaches to find solutions. The benchmark now was not Brazil’s past, but the international competition, and the need for continued growth and progress in the future. The recent street protests had been a powerful sign of popular dissatisfaction and alienation, which could not be ignored by any government which wanted to mobilise the astonishing talents of the Brazilian people. Lack of international competitiveness of some parts of the Brazilian economy, and the slowing of the economic growth rate, were signals of actual or potential trouble. Many people in Brazil now had enough basic material goods to satisfy them, on the strength of easily available credit, but they were not satisfied with the quality of the public goods and services on offer, from transport to healthcare and education. Changing that was arguably the biggest challenge facing future Brazilian governments.

We were conscious that there was no simple explanation of the street protests, and that there were different elements involved at different times. Some participants drew attention for example to the distinction between the ‘old’ middle class, which had one set of grievances, and a ‘new’ middle class, which had other issues, and the lack of obvious sympathy between the two. The likelihood of repeats was high, whether during the forthcoming World Cup or later. The people concerned did not feel themselves to be represented by the current system. Would we have to wait for a new crop of younger politicians who could connect more readily with this ‘wired’ generation?  One big issue in this context would be policing – if this could be managed in a sensitive and mature way, it would make dealing with the grievances themselves easier. Otherwise, there could be real trouble. A major question was the role of the army in all this. How far should they be used in an internal role, as they were currently being in one part of Rio? The 50th anniversary of the military coup had helped focus attention on this question.

President Rousseff had sought to use the protests as the moment to introduce the need for more fundamental political reform. Although this had not been a central plank of the protesters’ own demands, without such reform other issues would remain very difficult to address with any urgency. Unfortunately, she had not managed to gain any real traction for change, and the opportunity might have gone in the short term. This threatened to be a big problem for the future, since it was not clear that the kind of incremental change which suited Brazil’s current political set-up would be sufficient. The point was that the executive could only do so much without the help of the legislature, and the latter was neither very willing to help, nor likely to vote to change itself. The vested interests involved were too great. There was no easy answer to this, and gradual progress, or muddling through, would probably continue to be the only way forward, especially where there was no consensus on the right policies to adopt. But it was not clear that this would be enough. The absence of serious political reform therefore threatened to be a significant brake on Brazil’s future progress, internationally as well as domestically.

Arguably the most severe challenge facing Brazil was economic competitiveness, for example in mainstream industrial and manufacturing sectors. The good years of the commodity boom, when Brazil had been able to sell natural resources at high prices to China in particular, had concealed serious problems.  The government instinct seemed to be to protect Brazilian companies from international competition, and to encourage the role of the state, but this was seen by many around the table as short-sighted and counterproductive, since the competitive incentives to improve productivity were simply not there. Brazilian business itself seemed increasingly to agree, and to be demanding urgent change. The ‘Brazil cost’ remained high. She had become expensive before she became rich. The tax system was effective at generating revenue, but not good for the economy more widely. Tariffs and non-tariff barriers were also high by comparison with other similar economies, and their distribution seemed to owe more to lobbying by vested interests than any economic rationality. Foreign companies wanted to do business in Brazil, for obvious reasons, but found it hard to get into the market, or stay there, and difficult to invest and maintain a viable business. Brazil was not an open economy by today’s standards.

We identified three other key internal challenges on which we hoped future Brazilian governments would focus:

  • Education in its broadest sense, to include encouragement of innovation. There was general acceptance that the Brazilian public educational system had been underperforming for many years, not least at primary level. Employers and investors were finding it difficult to recruit engineers and skilled workers. Poor educational attainment was seen by many as the main factor holding back the Brazilian economy, compared to other major emerging economies such as China. More emphasis on vocational training would be one way forward, perhaps including a ‘skills without borders’ initiative;
  • Energy: while Brazil had a strong competitive advantage in biofuels, and huge potential for oil, operational costs were high and discouraging for international investors, taxation was complex, and the bureaucracy surrounding licensing heavy. The obvious preference given to Petrobras, together with the handicaps given to Petrobras in terms of domestic pricing and high costs, was a poor combination of policies at a time when the global context was changing;
  • Public security: the high homicide rate, including killings by police, was particularly worrying. There were good examples of greater professionalisation such as the Federal Police, but an integrated public security strategy, involving all levels of government, could be a useful step forward, given the need to knit together federal and state level responsibilities. The role of the army, for example in the favelas, needed to be clarified and monitored carefully.

Key factors for success in areas like these were seen as coherent and accepted national strategies; focus on implementation of already agreed policies; and more dialogue between all concerned, including unions and civil society.

Brazil and the region
This was perhaps the most sensitive area of discussion, not least because the differences of perception between the Brazilians round the table, and others, not least those from elsewhere in the region, seemed at times rather stark. Brazilians tended to see themselves as a big friendly giant, particularly compared to other giant-sized countries in the world. They had never threatened or thrown their weight around with their ten neighbours, despite many difficulties with some of them, or more widely in the region. They had been the champions of regional integration through Mercosur, and remained committed to this goal, and to Mercosur.

Others did not suggest that Brazil had been or was a threatening neighbour, and were not necessarily pressing for Brazilian leadership either. But they were concerned that Brazil was fundamentally not very interested in the rest of the region, whether seen as Latin America or South America, because of her global ambitions, and did sometimes trample on others’ interests simply because she was such a large elephant. She was a regional power, not a regional leader. Partly as a result, the region was tending to fragment and polarise, rather than integrate, despite the façade of summits and the alphabet soup of regional groupings. There was also a fundamental lack of clarity about what was meant by regional integration. The issue seemed to have slipped well down the list of priorities in domestic debate within Brazil.

Part of the perception of lack of engagement by Brazil in the region was no doubt a result of the very different approach of President Rousseff from her predecessor. President Lula had reached out constantly and promised a good deal – more than he could realistically have ever achieved – whereas she seemed less interested in regional and wider international policy. The perception was not necessarily well-founded – the degree of real past engagement in the region could easily be exaggerated – and a reversion to a less activist style after Lula had been inevitable, and perhaps positive in some ways. But the perception was nevertheless damaging, and needed to be addressed.

The issue of trade was a recurring theme in both the regional and global contexts. Like other countries of the region, Brazil traded relatively little with her neighbours. Brazil’s commitment to freer trade was meanwhile seen by many round the table as in doubt/decline, both because of her own policies and tariff structures, and because she was not part of the negotiations on the TPP, at a time when the Doha Round approach was effectively stalled, despite the small success on trade facilitation in Bali. Many saw Brazil as being left behind in the region by the new Pacific Alliance dynamic in favour of free trade, led by the Pacific coast countries with Mexico at their head, a country which had herself long ago plumped for maximum economic openness, for better or for worse, and now seemed to be doing well. Meanwhile Mercosur now appeared to be stuck, however important its past role may have been, not least in Brazil-Argentina reconciliation, and to be seriously hampered by Venezuelan membership. Surely it needed fundamental reform if it was going to move forward again? In sum, Brazil faced the possibility of becoming a rule-taker in the trade area, rather than the rule-shaper she aspired and needed to be.

This version was contested by others: Brazilian tariffs were not as high as had been claimed. Mercosur remained important and active, as shown by the commitment to success in the EU trade agreement talks. Its political role remained vital, and Venezuela’s inclusion could be essential in the future, even though it had caused short-term problems. The Pacific Alliance was not much more than a label for now. Brazil was not part of the TPP because it did not believe in partial trade agreements of this kind, which could not work, and preferred the full multilateral approach via the WTO. Her own commitment to freer trade had not diminished, and was illustrated by the fact that a Brazilian was now head of the WTO.

On the political side, we discussed the role Brazil could or should play in resolving individual country crises, with Venezuela the most obvious candidate. Again we heard different views. It was suggested that Brazil was playing a vital role behind the scenes in trying to bring the Venezuelan parties together and mediating to avert a worse crisis. By its nature most of this was not visible to the outside world, and its chances of success would be much reduced if Brazil were to be outspoken and take specific public stands about some of the issues. That did not mean Brazil was condoning undemocratic practices and abuses. It was rather all part of Brazil’s long tradition of a foreign policy based on non-intervention in the internal affairs of others, and avoiding prescription to other countries and governments. Regional politics were a complex environment in which to navigate, and trying to take strong stands would alienate some and frighten others, and perhaps threaten regional stability. Solutions to internal problems, in Venezuela or elsewhere, would in the end have to come from within. They could not be imposed from the outside.

Others suggested that Brazil was not in fact in a position to play much of a mediation role in Venezuela, because some key Brazilian figures were compromised in opposition eyes by being seen as too close to the current regime. Meanwhile, by not speaking out against abuses and authoritarian regimes in the region, Brazil was in fact betraying the values of democracy and defence of human rights she claimed to espouse and condoning unacceptable behaviour. It was not always possible to sit on the fence, publicly or privately. Brazil also seemed to be habitually more understanding of left-wing regimes and less likely to be openly critical of them. This undermined the notion of a country promoting peace and democracy in an even-handed way.

Regional cooperation was not of course confined to the trade and political spheres. We should not underestimate the importance of cultural and other intangible links. However, we noted that regional integration still had a very long way to go in practical terms, even at the most basic level of infrastructure in areas like transport and energy. There was plenty of scope for trans-border projects, but not much sign of real activity. People to people links were restricted by the difficulty and expense of travel, and contacts at the level of civil society were also more limited than might reasonably be expected, though growing. It was suggested that there might be a lot more scope for regional cooperation in areas like drugs and crime, and education/research (a real Brazilian strength), as well as the environment, though it was also pointed out that drugs could not really be seen as a regional issue. How far could or should Brazil take the lead/initiative in promoting such cooperation? Clearly all the countries of the region had the responsibility to work together, but there were areas where Brazil could take more of a leading role, without seeming to be the regional bully. She could not aspire to recognition as a regional leader without taking a greater degree of responsibility for what happened in the region.

We could not resolve these differences of view in the time available, but there did clearly seem to be a need for more frank dialogue between some of the countries involved. Moreover Brazil appeared at the least to need to find better ways of explaining her policy in the region, and clarifying what she wanted to see (if indeed she really knew what she wanted).

Brazil’s place in the world
The discussion of Brazil’s wider international policy and role mirrored the regional debate to some extent, but with passions running a little less high. Again the fundamental question to which we tended to return obsessively was whether Brazil was essentially a passive power, not wanting to engage deeply in most world problems, or simply an unfamiliar kind of power, working actively to promote international peace and understanding, and better global governance, but just not in the prescriptive and interventionist ways western countries wanted her to.

Our starting point was how lucky Brazil was in many respects. She had no real enemies, or major security worries; plenty of excellent natural and human resources; and no big problems of religious or ethnic division/fundamentalism at home. China, India, Indonesia or Nigeria could only look on in envy. Her defence forces might be weak, and her defence strategy might still be rudimentary, but they could afford to be. Renouncing nuclear weapons had been relatively straightforward because she did not face a threatening neighbourhood with other potential proliferators. So Brazil had the luxury of being able to be detached from many international conflicts.

At the same time, Brazil wanted to be a global player, in ways commensurate with her size and economic power, and to be taken seriously by others. In many respects she already was.  But did she really know what role she wanted to play or how to play it? Did she want to be at the top table for the sake of being there and being seen to be there, or was it for specific reasons, either of essential Brazilian interests or wider international objectives? Like other major emerging/emerged powers, she did not like the fact that the global rules had been written by others, but had done well out of these rules, and did not seem to want to replace them.

We were also aware that Brazilian foreign policy-making processes had become much more complex. The days when the Itamaraty had had the field to itself were long gone. A much wider range of government departments, companies and civil society organisations was now interested in international affairs and contacts, and had to be engaged/consulted. The public had to be engaged. This was natural and welcome in many ways, and reflected the diversity of Brazilian society and the maturing of her democracy. But it was inevitably more difficult to manage. A clear single policy was less likely to emerge. Brazil’s overseas interests were also more diverse.

There was a mismatch in some respects between Brazil’s global ambitions and the means she had at her disposal to implement such ambitions. The Itamaraty remained relatively small, and not necessarily well attuned to a new coordination role, while other institutions remained relatively weak, including foreign policy think tanks. Brazilian presence in the secretariats of international institutions was also limited, because of lack of attention to this in the past, although the current leadership by Brazilians of two major international organisations, the WTO and FAO, was an important statement of intent.

As in regional affairs, there was a perception that Brazil had become less active recently, but this was again probably linked to inevitable retrenchment after the Lula years, and President Dilma’s less obvious interest in foreign policy. It was certainly the case that the objective of a permanent Security Council seat had become less of a priority than previously, but that was hardly surprising given the lack of progress in Security Council reform overall, and the poor prospects of that changing any time soon. Nevertheless the issue was unlikely to go away, since it was rooted deeply in Brazilian attitudes to the world and to multilateralism. Meanwhile the G20 was a good forum for Brazil to embrace and to work actively within, despite continuing doubts about its effectiveness in the absence of a major crisis to address.

How should Brazil position itself in world affairs? She was a country which actively embraced and espoused ‘western’ values such as democracy and human rights, but which also saw herself as still part of the developing countries and the global south. She saw no need to make choices between these two orientations, or between other groups such as the BRICS or IBSA (though IBSA might be a more naturally appealing forum). The world was now a multipolar place, and the better for that, in Brazilian eyes. There was nothing wrong or odd about a variable geometry approach, reflecting Brazil’s own diversity. Western powers, particularly the US, might want Brazil to take their side on more issues, but Brazil saw no need to respond positively to that desire. One of her strengths had long been a genuinely independent foreign policy, and she saw no reason to change that. She could cultivate good relations with all countries. She would remain an active proponent of south-south cooperation in many areas, including development aid. She was increasingly active in UN peacekeeping, and a convinced multilateralist. She was an indispensable player on global environmental issues. The fact that she did not speak out loudly on issues like Syria did not mean she did not care about them, and was not working actively behind the scenes to find real ways forward. But she would not espouse western-style interventionism and prescriptive approaches, which had arguably contributed to the emergence of such crises.

Some around the table challenged this comfortable account of Brazilian global policy. Brazil was far from the action in many areas of tension or conflict, and could afford to stay on the sidelines if she chose. But in the end she lost credibility by doing so too often. As in the regional context, not speaking out about issues where democracy was threatened or human rights abuses were egregious could be seen as effectively condoning such threats and abuses, and supporting the status quo. Also as in the regional context, Brazil was not currently playing much of a role in international trade diplomacy, particularly because of her absence from the TPP negotiations. The EU/Mercosur negotiations were going nowhere, in reality. Brazil’s practice, as opposed to the theory, was also less neutral than it might appear. She was always quick to condemn western actions and policies, but much less vocal when it came to criticising others. This was not really non-alignment. And, as one participant put it, did she want to have a permanent seat on the Security Council so that she could just abstain on all issues?

It was true that Brazil’s efforts to be more activist had not always been welcomed when she had tried, as over the ill-fated Brazilian-Turkish initiative over Iran. But there was bound to be a learning process involved in a more active policy, and fingers would doubtless be burned again. That was not a reason for not continuing to try to shape the world, rather than simply observing it from afar.

This was a divide which our conference could not bridge. But how far was such a critique of Brazilian foreign policy effectively confined to western countries and the global north, who were just frustrated that they could not persuade Brazil to be more like them? There was certainly a large element of this. Many developing countries seemed to appreciate the Brazilian approach. But there was a suggestion also that this was not a sufficient answer to the criticism. Other countries around the world beyond the usual western suspects would like to see Brazil playing a more active role in resolving conflicts and taking new initiatives, which would mean being ready to stick the Brazilian head above the parapet and risk alienating some people who were not just those from the west. The south-south approach in development cooperation also seemed to be easier rhetorically than practically, judging by some Brazilian aid projects around the world. Repeating the mantra of multilateralism was not of much real value when the multilateral approach was so often blocked by inevitable divisions between the 190+ countries in the world, all with their own views and interests to defend. A more proactive approach, and greater readiness to get one’s hands dirty, might well be needed.

We also tried to look beyond the usual issues of global foreign policy, and to focus for example on Brazilian soft power. There had to be more to this than the usual images of beaches, carnival and football, positive though these were. We agreed that Brazil was seen by many as an attractive role model, both pro-business and pro-poor, and that successful staging of the football World Cup and Olympic Games could reinforce the perception of a prosperous, peaceful giant, at ease with itself and with its identity in the world. But there were significant potential flies in the ointment. For example, Brazil’s handling of further street protest would be closely scrutinised. Mishandling through crude suppression could do more harm to Brazil’s image than the fact of the protests themselves. Continuing weak economic growth would cast doubt on Brazil’s competitivity and the effectiveness of her domestic economic policies.

One area of weakness in this context raised by several round the table was the relatively poor state of fluency in English on the part of many Brazilians, even well-educated ones. This had for example hampered the otherwise excellent initiative of science without borders, when a number of students had not had the level of English required to take up the places offered to them. Knowledge of English was an important part of openness to the world, and of ability to influence the thinking and attitudes of others.

We touched briefly on the vexed issue of internet governance and its sensitivity in US-Brazilian relations, in the wake of the Snowden revelations. The potency of this issue should not be underestimated. It would be interesting to see what came out of the international meeting Brazil was hosting the week after our conference. This was an area where Brazil might be able to take a useful lead.

We were conscious throughout of the need to avoid being, or sounding, patronising to a country like Brazil, which knew its own strengths and weaknesses better than anyone outside. There is therefore no list of simplistic recommendations in this Note. However, as the account above suggests, that does not mean we did not think there were a number of key areas where Brazil could perform better and advance her interests more effectively, both on the domestic and international fronts. These should emerge clearly enough from the text. There was a sense around the room that Brazil’s rise has reached a crossroads, and that poor policy-making and decision-making in the next few years, particularly in the economic field, could still hold her back from her full potential. This in turn might require domestic political reform, however difficult that looked for now, and an ability to identify, understand and try at least partially to satisfy the demands of those taking to the streets to press for something different.

On the international side, in some ways the most striking aspect of the discussions was the gap between Brazilian perceptions of themselves, and others’ perceptions of them. There is not a straight choice to be made between these different visions. The issues are complicated in a complex and difficult world, but at the very least they suggest that Brazil needs to take more notice of what her critics are saying and find more convincing ways of presenting herself and what she stands for to the rest of the region and the world.

This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference.  No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.


CHAIR: Minister Celso Lafer 
President, São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) (2007-); Professor Emeritus, International Relations Institute, University of São Paulo; member: Brazilian Academy of Sciences and the Brazilian Academy of Letters. Formerly: Countries and Cultures Chair, John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress, Washington, DC (2006); Minister of Foreign Affairs (2001-02 and 1992); Minister of Industry, Development and Foreign Trade (1999); Permanent Representative of Brazil to the WTO, the UN and other International Organisations in Geneva (1995-98); Professor of Law, University of São Paulo.

Mr Roberto Bosch

Argentine Diplomatic Service (1998-): Chief, Economic and Commercial Section, Embassy of Argentina to Brazil (2012-). Formerly: Director, MERCOSUR Economic and Commercial Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina (2010-12).

Mr Rafael Haddad
Chief Executive Officer, BDI Brazil Board, Berlin (2010-). Formerly: Managing Director, Project Office, Alliance of German Chambers in the MERCOSUR, Frankfurt am Main; German-Brazilian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, São Paulo.
Ms Renata Hessmann Dalaqua 
Project Coordinator, Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI), Rio de Janeiro; Political Scientist.
His Excellency Mr Roberto Jaguaribe 
Diplomatic Service of Brazil (1979-): Ambassador of Brazil to the United Kingdom (2010-). Formerly:
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs II, Ministry of External Relations (2007-10); President, National Institute of Industrial Property (2005-07); Under-Secretary for Industrial Technology, Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade (2003-05); Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Brazil, Washington, DC (2000-03); Director General for Trade Promotion, Ministry of External Relations (1998-2000); Under-Secretary for International Affairs, Ministry of Planning (1995-98).
Dr Carlos Lins da Silva PhD 
Special Advisor in Communication Affairs to the Presidency of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), São Paulo; Editor, 'Política Externa'; Council Member, Brazil Institute, and Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Formerly: Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Folha de S.Paulo and Valor Economico; Director (Public Affairs), Patri; Lecturer, Georgetown University.
Ms Luara Lopes
Researcher, Articulação SUL; practitioner/researcher in Brazilian South-South development cooperation. Formerly: International Relations Adviser, ABONG -– Association of Brazilian NGOs; Brazilian Cooperation Agency; Brazilian Institute of Applied Economic Policies (IPEA).
Dr Mauricio Mesquita-Moreira 
Principal Economic Advisor and Research Coordinator of the Integration and Trade Sector, Inter-American Development Bank. Formerly: Research Department, Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES); Lecturer, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
Mr Paulo Sotero 
Director, Brazil Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC; Adjunct Faculty, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University; Board of Directors, Institute of the Americas. Formerly: Washington Correspondent, Estado de S. Paulo (1989-2006).
Professor Alfredo Valladão 
Professor, Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po), Paris; President, Advisory Board, EU-Brazil Association (2010-); board member, Maison du Brésil – Cité Universitaire de Paris; weekly radio op-ed column, Radio France International (RFI -– Brazilian Service); member, Board of Trustees, United Nations Institute for Training and Research;  Senior Research Associate, European Union Institute for Security Studies, Paris (2006-11). Formerly: Director, Mercosur Chair, Sciences Po (1999-2010); Commentator, BBC Brazilian Service (2005-10).

Dr Jean Daudelin

Associate Professor (2011-), formerly Assistant Professor (2002-11), The Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa. Formerly: Visiting Professor, University of São Paulo (2007); Principal Researcher, Conflict and Human Security, North-South Institute, Ottawa (1998-2002).
Annette Hester 
Project Coordinator, Energy Innovation Centre, InterAmerican Development Bank, Washington, DC (2012-); Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC (2005-). Formerly: Member, Transition Team of Premier Redford, Alberta (2011-12); Senior Associate, Canadian International Council (2008-11); Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation (2005-10); Executive Director, Latin American Research Centre, University of Calgary (2001-04). A member of the Program Advisory Committee of The Canadian Ditchley Foundation.

Professor Monica Hirst

Professor, Department of Economics and Administration, Quilmes National University; Professor, International Studies Masters Programme, Torcuato Di Tella University, Buenos Aires. Formerly: Senior Research Fellow, International Development Program, IPEA/Brasilia (2011-13); Professor, Diplomatic Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina (1996-2008); Executive-Director, Center for Brazilian Studies Foundation, Buenos Aires (1996-2006); Visiting Professor, Harvard University (2000-01); Visiting Professor, University of São Paulo (1998); Visiting Professor, Stanford University
Professor Philippe Faucher
Professor of international political economy and globalization, with a focus on the political and economic development of Latin America, concentrating on Brazil and Mexico, University of Montreal; Columnist, La Presse, Montreal. Formerly: Chair, Political Science Department, University of Montreal (2005-09); Consultant to the Minister of Administration and Reform of the State (1995).
Ambassador Jamal Khokhar 
Canadian Diplomatic Service (1987-): Ambassador to Brazil (2010-). Formerly: Regional Director General, Americas Bureau, Canadian International Development Agency (2008-10); Chief of Staff to the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (2006-08); Director General, Latin America and Caribbean Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (2004-06); Deputy Head, Trade and Economic Policy Section; later Minister-Counsellor and Head of the Congressional and Legal Affairs Section, Canadian Embassy, Washington DC (1997-2002); Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister for International Trade (1994-97).

Dr José Miguel Vivanco
Executive Director, Americas Division, Human Rights Watch, Washington DC. Formerly: Attorney, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States; Founder (1990), Center for Justice and International Law; Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center and School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

Mr Simone Pieri

Head, Political, Economic and Public Affairs Section, EU Delegation to Brazil (2010-). Formerly: United Nations Desk (2005-10); Coordinator of Trade Relations with Japan (2002-05); Head, Cooperation Sector, EU Delegation to Latvia (1999-2002).

Ambassador Rengaraj Viswanathan
Distinguished Fellow, Latin America Studies, Gateway House – Indian Council on Global Relations (2013-). Formerly: Indian Diplomatic Service: Ambassador of India to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay (2007-12); Head, Latin America Division, Ministry of External Affairs (2004-07); Head of Investment and Trade Promotion Division (2003-04); Ambassador to Venezuela (2000-03); Consul General of India in São Paulo (1996-2000).

Dr Yolanda Meyenberg

Visiting Fellow, Government Department, London School of Economics and Political Science; Senior Researcher, Institute of Social Research, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Formerly: Office of the Spokesman, President's Office (Vicente Fox presidency).
Ms Evelyn Vera-Barreto 
Head of Education and International Cooperation, Embassy of Mexico, London (2012-). Formerly: Deputy Director (Migration), Ministry of Foreign Affairs; secondment to Centre for Democratic Development, Federal Electoral Institute.

Professor Haibin Niu
Deputy Director, Center for American Studies, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.

Dr Anna Ayuso

Research Fellow on Latin America, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB); Associate Professor on Latin American Studies, Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (2008-); Associate Professor on EU-Latin American Relations, Institut Universitari d'Estudis Europeus (2008-); Associate Professor on International Law (UAB) (1996-). Formerly: Coordinator, Latin American Program, CIDOB (2002-09); Coordinator, International Cooperation Area, CIDOB (1996-2002).
Mr Pablo Gómez de Olea Bustinza 
Spanish Diplomatic Service (1992-): Director General, Latin America. Formerly: postings to Mozambique, Paraguay, Colombia and Permanent Representation of Spain to the United Nations and other International Organisations, Geneva.
Dr Carlos Malamud 
Senior Analyst, Latin America, Real Instituto Elcano, Madrid; Professor of Latin American History, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid. Formerly: Head, Latin America Programme, and Deputy Director, Instituto Universitario Ortega y Gasset, Madrid (1996-2002); Spanish Senior Visiting Fellow, St Antony's College, University of Oxford (1992-93).

Ambassador Adam Blackwell

Secretary for Multidimensional Security, Organiszation of American States .(OAS), Washington, DC. Formerly: Secretary of External Relations, OAS; Assistant Secretary of Finance and Administration (Treasurer), OAS; Canadian Diplomatic Service: Director General, Strategy and Services, Bilateral Relations Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (2005-06); Ambassador to the Dominican Republic (2002-05); Consul General in Mexico.

Sir Roger Bone KCMG
President, Boeing United Kingdom Limited (2005-); Trustee and Non-Executive Director, National Centre for Universities and Business (2011-); Non-Executive Director, F and C Investment Trust plc (2007-); Council Member, Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, UK (2005-); UKTI Ambassador for British Business; Trustee, Royal United Services Institute. Formerly: HM Diplomatic Service (1966-2004): Ambassador to Brazil (1999-2004); Ambassador to Sweden (1995-99); Assistant Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1991-95).
Mr Alan Charlton CMG CVO 
Governor and Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor, De Montfort University; Robin Humphries Fellow, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London; Honorary Professor, Nottingham University; Governor, Sherborne School; Adviser on Science without Borders, Universities UK; Adviser to UK and Brazilian companies. Formerly: HM Diplomatic Service: British Ambassador to Brazil (2008-13); Deputy Ambassador to the United States (2004-08); HR Director, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2001-04); Deputy Ambassador to Germany (1998-2000).
Ambassador Alexander Ellis CMG
HM Diplomatic Service (1990-): Ambassador to Brazil (2013-). Formerly: Director for Strategy, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Ambassador to Portugal (2007-10); Adviser to the President of the European Commission (2005-07).
The Hon. Jonathan Hannay MBE 
Secretary General, ACER Brasil (Association for the Support of Children at Risk).
Professor Anthony Pereira 
Director, King's Brazil Institute, King's College, London. Formerly: Executive Committee member, Brazilian Studies Association; Visiting Professor, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Boston (1997-99); Visiting Professor, Harvard University (1995); Graduate Faculty, New School for Social Research, New York; Department of Political Science, Tulane University, New Orleans.
Professor Malcolm Press 
University of Birmingham: Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Knowledge Transfer) (2013-). Formerly:
Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of College (Life and Environmental Sciences) (2008-13).
Mr John Paul Rathbone 
Latin America Editor, The Financial Times. Formerly: Editor, Lex column; Economist, World Bank; Business Columnist, Esquire magazine (2002-03).
Miss Kate Smith CMG 
HM Diplomatic Service (1987-): Director Americas, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Ambassador Anthony Harrington

Chair, Managing Board, Albright Stonebridge Group LLC, Washington, DC; Managing Board, Albright Capital Management LLC; Chair, Advisory Council, Brazil Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Chair Emeritus, Brazil-US Business Council; Trustee, Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise; member, US Department of State Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy. Formerly: US Ambassador to Brazil; Senior Partner, Hogan Lovells US LLP; Chairman, President's Intelligence Oversight Board and Vice Chair, President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
Ambassador Donna Hrinak 
President, Boeing Brazil. Formerly: Director, Corporate and Government Affairs (Latin America), Kraft Foods; Senior Director, Kissinger McLarty Associates (2005); Co-Chair, International Trade,
Competition and Government Practice, Steel Hector Davis LLP (2004-05); US Diplomatic Service (1984-2004): Ambassador to Brazil (2002-04), to Venezuela (2000-02), to Bolivia (1997-2000), to Dominican Republic (1994-97); Policy Coordinator, Miami Summit of the Americas (1994); Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs, US Department of State (1991-93); Deputy Chief of
Mission, US Embassy, Tegucigalpa, Honduras (1989-91).
Dr Timothy Power 
Director, Brazilian Studies Programme, St Antony's College, University of Oxford (2008-); University Lecturer in Brazilian Studies and Fellow of St Cross College, University of Oxford (2005-). Formerly: President, Brazilian Studies Association (2004-06); Associate Professor, Florida International University (1999-2005); Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University (1992-99).
Professor Riordan Roett 
Professor and Director of the Latin American Studies Program and Western Hemisphere Studies, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; Director, Closed End Mutual Funds, Legg Mason  – Global Asset Management; member: Council on Foreign Relations and The Bretton Woods Committee. Formerly: National President, Latin American Studies Association.
Mr William Rohter 
The New York Times: International Arts and Culture Reporter. Formerly: South American Bureau Chief, Rio de Janeiro (1999-2007); Caribbean and Central America Bureau Chief (1994-99); Mexico Bureau Chief (1987-90). Author: 'Brazil on the Rise: The Story of a Country Transformed' (2010) and 'Deu no New York Times: O Brasil Segundo a Otica de um Reporter' (2008). Correspondent for Newsweek: Bureau Chief, Rio de Janeiro (1977-82); Asian Regional Editor and Peking Bureau Chief (1982-84).
Ambassador Thomas Shannon 
Counselor of the Department of State (2013-). Formerly: Senior Advisor to Secretary of State, John Kerry; US Diplomatic Service: US Ambassador to Brazil (2009-13); Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs (2005-09); Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, National Security Council (2003-05); Deputy Assistant Secretary of Western Hemisphere Affairs (2002-03); Director of Andean Affairs (2001-02); US Deputy Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (2000-01); Director of Inter-American Affairs, National Security Council (1999-2000).
Mr Edward 'Alex' Lee 
Deputy Assistant Secretary for South America and Cuba, US Department of State.

Mr Guillermo Quintero
Regional President, BP Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela and Colombia.