Brazil's rise among world powers has been well documented in recent years. But in addtion to growing economic might, contributions through science have played a major and less appreciated role in the country's achievements. At the forefront of Brazil's advancements in science is the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). The organization celebrated its 50th Anniversary during a conference at the Wilson Center, and we took the opportunity to speak with 3 of its most prominent contributors about FAPESP's role and mission: Celso Lafer, the foundation's President; Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, FAPESP's Scientific Director; and Thomas Lovejoy, Biodiversity Chair at the Heinz Center. FAPESP Week was co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Ohio State University School of Medicine.
Celso Lafer is President of the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and is a full professor at the Universidade de Sao Paulo's Law School. Previously he served as Brazil's Minister of Foreign Relations and as Minister of Development, Industry, and Trade. Mr. Lafer has also served as Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the WTO, the UN and the specialized agencies in Geneva. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and the Brazilian Academy of Letters and became President of FAPESP in 2007.
Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz serves as Science Director for FAPESP. He was a researcher at the Quantum Optics Laboratory in Rome and was an associate professor at Unicamp's Physics Institute. He has been a visiting scientist at AT&T Bell Laboratories and also served as vice president of the Brazilian Physics Society. He became a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences in 2000, and is currently president of Technology and Competitiveness at FIESP, the Sao Paulo State Federation of Industries.
Thomas Lovejoy is a professor at George Mason University and also holds the Biodiversity Chair at the Heinz Center where he previously served as president. Dr. Lovejoy was the World Bank's Chief Biodiversity Advisor and was Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation. He has also served as Assistant Secretary and Counselor to the Secretary at the Smithsonian Institution, Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior, and as Executive Vice President of the World Wildlfe Fund.