First US-Brazil Civil Society Forum to Discuss in Washington Immigration Reform

Bird symbols of US and BrazilLater this month presidents Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Barack Obama of the United States will meet in Brazil to discuss the state of bilateral relations.  This will be the first trip of President Obama to Brazil and has already raised expectations about the possibility of increasing cooperation between the two largest democracies and economies of the Americas. 

As Peter Hakim, former President of the Inter-American Dialogue,  has noted recently, relations between the U.S. and Brazil soured in recent years as Brazil’s growing global leadership bump ups against the prerogatives and positions held by the U.S. 

Obama’s trip to sit down with Dilma and return bilateral relations to a positive, cooperative trajectory signals both governments’ intentions to mend any disrepair of late and initiate a new round of cooperation, including efforts to deepen trade, tourism, and anti-terrorism cooperation during the ramp up to the 2014 World Cup in Soccer and the 2016 Summer Olympics, both to be held in Brazil.

Just as Dilma and Obama sit down to talk, U.S. citizens and Brazilian residents of the U.S. will gather in Washington, D.C. on March 19th to participate in the first ever United States-Brazil Civil Society Forum.

The purpose of the Forum is to develop a better understanding of this very special and growing community in the U.S, as well as its major public policy interests, including an immigration reform that promotes family visits and reunification. 

The Forum also provides for a discussion of the need and viability of establishing a national association to represent U.S. citizens and Brazilian residents who share a special bond with Brazil, wish to promote Brazilian arts and culture in the U.S., and are working together for greater cooperation between the governments and peoples of Brazil and the U.S.

According to the Executive Co-chair, Mark Langevin of BrazilWorks, “the Forum facilitates a national discussion among those of us with strong ties to Brazil so that we can collectively decide how best to influence government policy to facilitate family reunification, ease travel and business between the U.S. and Brazil, and deepen cooperation between the peoples of the U.S. and Brazil to confront the challenges that both countries face.”

Fernanda Martinez de Oliveira, Forum Co-chair and Communications Coordinator for the Council of Brazilian Citizens associated with Brazil’s General Consulate in San Francisco, believes that, “it is the right time for Brazilians and North Americans to work together to insure that our governments are doing all they can to build bridges between the two largest democracies of the Americas and solve the problems of those of us whose lives, families, work, businesses, and investments are woven across borders in both Brazil and the U.S.”

The Forum is sponsored by BrazilWorks (www.brazilworks.org) and supported by the Brazilian Alliance, the Brazilian Immigrant Center, the Brazilian Womens Group, the International Association of Brazilian Professional Photographers, the Biofuels Racing Alliance, and the Center for the Brazilian Immigrant Worker.

For more information about the Forum or to register for this event visit its website at: http://www.brazilworks.org/Forum.html

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