The Brazil Institute seeks to foster dialogue on key issues of bilateral concern between Brazil and the United States and advance Washington’s understanding of contemporary Brazilian developments by promoting research, analysis and debate of Brazil’s public policies.

The Brazil Institute was created out of the conviction that Brazil and the U.S.-Brazilian relationship deserve greater attention within the Washington policy community. Brazil´s population, size, and economy, as well as its unique position as a regional leader and global player, demand this attention. In keeping with the Center’s mission to bridge the worlds of scholarship and policymaking, the Brazil Institute sponsors activities on a broad range of key policy issues:

The Brazil Institute focuses on four major thematic areas: social and economic issues, science technology and innovation, rule of law, and climate change. These are highlighted our program of events and initiatives conducted in collaboration with academic, governmental and civic institutions, as well as business associations. Launched in 2011, the annual Brazilian Congressional Study Missions on Innovation have engaged forty members of the Brazilian parliament in dialogue with experts from American and British academia and industry, contributing to inform legislative debate on intellectual property and bridging the gap between businesses and universities. The FAPESP Weeks symposia, convened annually since 2011 in partnership with the São Paulo Science Foundation, has brought together over two hundred scientists and scholars from both countries and advanced joint research projects in fields ranging from energy and environmental sustainability to the life sciences. The Brazil Institute has convened high level seminars to address bilateral issues of jurisprudence, such as the 2011 Brazil-United States Judicial Dialogue, which convened over two days at the Library of Congress with sitting members of the Brazilian Supreme Court and counterparts in the US. The Dialogue led to a series on the Rule of Law and Democratic Institutions launched in in May 2015 and to continue with three conferences in 2016 and 2017. To address the growing concern of global climate change, the Brazil Institute has teamed up with the George Mason University and the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program on an ongoing Managing Our Planet series that addresses planetary-scale problems and their solutions. The series has been running since 2011 with over thirty unique seminars that brought together leading experts from the region and the world.

The Brazil Institute strives to promote, sponsor, and disseminate research conducted both in the field and at the Center. Meeting reports, supporting data, and other analysis are disseminated in the form of newsletters, policy bulletins, special reports, and other publications. These are distributed to members of the policy community and to the Brazilians and Brazilianists active in shaping U.S. perceptions of Brazil. Significant research projects lead to published volumes through the Wilson Center Press.

An integral part of the Institute’s program is the appointment of leading Brazilian and American and other academics, intellectuals, writers, journalists, and former diplomats and government officials as scholars to conduct research at the Center as Public Policy Scholars. The Wilson Center also supports research through academic year residential fellowships. Fellows and scholars conduct research and write in their areas of interest, while interacting with Wilson Center staff and policymakers in Washington.

The Brazil Institute maintains a comprehensive multimedia resource blog, Think Brazil, which features regularly updated news, analysis, publications, and reference materials covering issues relating to Brazil and to the U.S.-Brazilian relationship. Additional social media outreach includes Twitter and Facebook.

Since 1998, the Wilson International Center has recognized such exemplary individuals with the Woodrow Wilson Awards. At dinner ceremonies held from Toronto to Tokyo and San Francisco to São Paulo, the Wilson Center honors those who through thoughtful discussion, generous philanthropy, and selfless service have dedicated themselves to making the world a better place. The Brazil Institute has bestowed the Wilson Awards since 2006.

Woodrow Wilson Awards

Past Brazil Institute Awardees:
  • 2006: Ruy Mesquita, director of the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo and Mauricio Botelho, CEO of Embraer were awarded in São Paulo.
  • 2007: Business entrepreneur Jorge Gerdau Johannpeter and founder of the "Pastoral of Children" Zilda Arn were awarded in São Paulo. 
  • 2009: His Excellency Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil was awarded in New York City.
  • 2011: Her Excellency  Dilma Vana Rousseff, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil was awarded in New York City.
  • 2015: Andre Esteves, Chairman and CEO, BTG Pactual
  • 2015: Thomas E. Lovejoy, University Professor, George Mason University