Nestor Forster, Brazil’s ambassador to the United States, provided an update on his country and aimed, as he said, to dispel a few myths on Thursday.
During an hour-long talk at Florida State University’s The Globe Auditorium, Forster portrayed a bustling Brazil rebounding from COVID-19, with its leading economic indicators returning to pre-pandemic levels.
Propelled in part by emerging renewable and clean energy technology, Forster said Brazil is expanding its economic reach, and building relationships with research institutions like FSU is part of that work.
This is a far cry, he says, from the popular portrayal of a Brazil where the Amazon rainforest is wantonly destroyed in the name of grazing space for cattle.
“I like to challenge clichés and preconceptions,” he said at the start of his presentation. “I deal with politics, not politics. The policy is based on facts and data.
Forster pointed to figures that show Brazil leads the world in land conservation, with 30.3% of its territory – an area about four times the size of Texas – listed as protected.
“It’s funny that we have this reputation as a country that doesn’t care about the environment,” he said. “No other country does more to protect its land.”
Cynthia Green, director of FSU’s Center for Global Engagement – which hosted Forster – echoed a call from the ambassador to see stronger ties between FSU and Brazil. Green said FSU had about six faculty members from Brazil and 38 students, some of whom were in attendance.
“This is a great opportunity for FSU to establish closer contact with Brazil, and I hope this will lead to future research collaborations and more Brazilian students and graduate students coming here,” Green said.
Forster’s trip to Tallahassee included a visit with Governor Ron DeSantis. While at FSU, he met President Richard McCullough and Provost Jim Clark and had lunch at the Champions Club.
He tweeted Thursday about his meeting with Clark about the “great contribution of Brazilian students and researchers to the academic life of this institution known for its excellence”.
At Thursday’s event, Forster commented on the grandeur of Doak Campbell Stadium.
“We don’t have that in any university in Brazil,” he said.