Brazilian Leaders Gather at Yale to Discuss Public Education

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Featuring best practices in education and teacher training, “Leading Educational Reforms: Opportunities and Challenges Ahead,” is the second leadership program for Brazilian leaders hosted by Yale and organized in conjunction with the Lemann Foundation. Over 45 Brazilian public officials, as well as Lemann Foundation leadership and staff, came to New Haven for an intensive four-day seminar filled with lectures and workshops led by international education experts. 

The goal of the program was to create an understanding of and consensus around the importance of improving education among Brazil’s new political leadership at the national and state levels. In closed-door sessions, Brazilian senators, congressmen, governors, and education leaders discussed the country’s pressing educational issues and strategized how to affect change.

“One of our major objectives at the Lemann Foundation is to support leaders committed to bringing about change in Brazil’s educational system,” says Denis Mizne, CEO of the Lemann Foundation and Yale World Fellow. “By partnering with Yale, we harness the university’s ties to international leaders and provide our participants the opportunity to think about best practices in education in a global context.”

Throughout the program, three major themes were addressed: the launch of a national learning standard initiative in Brazil, best practices in teacher training, and technological innovation in education. The topics were heavily discussed during facilitated working sessions led by Laura Freebairn-Smith, Lecturer in Management at the Yale School of Drama and Principal at Organizational Performance Group, allowing participants time for reflection and collaboration.

Invited speakers included Evan Marwell, CEO and Founder of Education Superhighway, Richard Culatta, Executive Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the Office of the US Secretary of Education, and Barry McGaw, Chair of the Board of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

Participants also travelled to the Connecticut State Department of Education in Hartford to hear from Commissioner Dianna Wentzell about Common Core implementation.

“The sessions fostered excellent opportunities for discussion of a complex topic, and the speakers all provided crucial perspectives, as well as theoretical and practical examples,” says Camila Pereira, Policy Director at the Lemann Foundation. “It was a great opportunity for our participants to come together and think about how to approach issues back in Brazil.”

On the last night of the program, Brazilian students and scholars, as well as faculty with strong ties to Brazil, joined the delegation for a closing dinner, complete with remarks by Cid Gomes, Minister of Education in Brazil.

“It is a privilege for us to be working with the Lemann Foundation to think about how to address the important issue of education improvement in Brazil. We believe this collaboration only furthers the Yale-Brazil relationship, which has grown in recent years to span the university and include partnerships in the fields of deforestation, childhood development, mental health, and neglected diseases,” says Don Filer, Executive Director at Yale’s Office of International Affairs, the office that administered the program.

The Lemann Foundation is a non-profit organization created in 2002 by Brazilian entrepreneur Jorge Paulo Lemann to enhance the quality of public education in Brazil.

- By Isadora Italia