Lemann Foundation Makes Commitment to Brazilian Studies at Columbia

April 23, 2013

With the primary goal of building capacity to recruit and fund scholars and students dedicated to social and civic engagement in Brazil, the Lemann Foundation has signed a multimillion dollar agreement with Columbia University for the benefit of several related initiatives. The gift is Columbia’s largest ever for Brazil-related efforts and is the largest gift from a Brazilian donor.

“Combined with the University’s newly established presence in Brazil through its Global Center in Rio, this gift will substantially strengthen Columbia’s already-robust bilateral relationships,” said Columbia Provost John H. Coatsworth. “This generous gift stands out as a game changer for Brazilian studies at Columbia.”

Specifically, the gift establishes and endows the Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies; establishes the Lemann Professorship of Brazilian Studies enabling Columbia to recruit top-notch scholars focused on social issues in Brazil; endows the Lemann Foundation Interschool Fellowship Fund so that Columbia can recruit and fund master’s degree students at the School of International and Public Affairs, the Mailman School of Public Health, the School of Social Work, Columbia Journalism School, and the Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning; supports the Picker Center for Executive Education in exploring the feasibility of executive education programs in Brazil; and helps fund collaborations and exchanges organized and executed by the new Global Center in Rio de Janeiro. Columbia has a long history of scholarship in Brazilian studies. Two of the most important works on Brazilian history—Gilberto Freyre’s The Masters and the Slaves (1934) and Frank Tannenbaum’s Slave and Citizen (1946)—were shaped by Columbia’s intellectual leadership.

Two of the most prominent American scholars focusing on Brazil, Albert Fishlow and Alfred Stepan, have taught at Columbia for decades. The University has also brought to its New York campus a distinguished set of visitors that includes former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Vice President Dr. Michel Temer, and current and former Central Bank presidents Francisco Gros, Arminio Fraga, and Henrique Mereilles.

Columbia has also developed ties and collaborations with several prominent Brazilian institutions and scholars. The most notable initiatives include the creation of the Ruth Cardoso Chair, in collaboration with CAPES (the Brazilian federal agency for the support and evaluation of graduate education), FAPESP (the state of São Paulo research foundation) and the Brazilian Fulbright Commission; and agreements with the Fundação Getúlio Vargas, the University of São Paulo, and the Instituto Ling, among others.

—by Columbia News Staff