In 1979, a team of researchers based at the Woodrow Wilson Center conceived and launched a project titled "Transitions from Authoritarian Rule." This group of highly distinguished scholars including Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Abraham Lowenthal, Alfred Stepan, Guillermo O'Donnell, Philippe Schmitter, and Laurence Whitehead designed the project to analyze and compare political transitions underway in Latin America and Europe during the 1980's. The resultant research, conferences, and four-volume book series was the origin of a conceptual debate and empirical research on regime change and democratic governance throughout the world. The series was translated into numerous languages and, for more than a decade, was the most cited work of social science published in English.

As part of the twenty-fifth anniversary of this project, the Latin American Program invited Fernando Henrique Cardoso – who served as President of Brazil from 1995 to 2003 – to speak about the initiative and the status of the democracies in the region.

For complete coverage please see Thinking Brazil Update #13