Brazil is one of the world’s most vibrant, multicultural, and ethnically diverse nations. It is the fifth largest by area and seventh most populous, and the planet’s lungs lie mostly within its frontiers. Brazilians joke that theirs is the country of the future, and always will be. Is this changing? Uzarski and Perez will present a brief introduction to Brazil’s history, government, economy, and people. They will address the U.S.-Brazil bilateral relationship, and then focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced traditional diplomatic models and practices to evolve.
Joëlle Uzarski is currently the Public Diplomat in Residence at the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California. She joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2005 following a two-year State Department Senior English Language Fellowship in Uzbekistan. She served overseas at the U.S. embassies in Brazil, Chile, India, Pakistan, and Thailand, where she directed State Department educational and cultural programs in 19 countries. Her most recent assignment was Country Cultural Affairs Officer in Brasilia. Prior to becoming a diplomat, Joëlle trained teachers and taught students in Korea, Brazil, and Spain. She earned her B.A. in Creative Writing and her Master’s in Applied Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is from Chicago.
Francisco “Paco” Pérez grew up in Belen, New Mexico and is currently the Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He joined the State Department in 2008, following a fellowship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Capitol Hill. He has served in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Benin, and the Department of State, Operations Center. He and his wife, FSO Stephanie Espinal are members of the Hispanic Employees Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA) and have participated in many recruiting events for future Hispanic Foreign Service Officers. Paco is a graduate of the University of Tampa and has a juris doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law.