Coursera launches in Brazil, becomes first online education provider to partner with its public universities

September 18, 2014

Emil Protalinski – TNW, 09/17/2014

Coursera today announced it is officially launching in Brazil. The company is teaming up with the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), its first university partners in Latin America to offer Portuguese courses.

That’s not the only first. Coursera is the first open online education provider to partner with Brazil’s top universities. Furthermore, the move today also means it is offering its first native Portuguese courses for learners not just in Brazil, but across the globe.

The two universities will develop courses targeted at Brazilian learners in high-demand topics from entrepreneurship to finance, slated for early next year. Coursera has also struck a deal with R7, one of Brazil’s largest web portals, to increase awareness of these new educational opportunities by featuring its courses.

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Rio de Janeiro named host city for the 2018 International Congress of Mathematicians

September 10, 2014

Secretariat for Social Communication of the Presidency of Brazil (SECOM), 09/10/2014

Also announced at this year’s Congress, in 2018 Brazil will become the first Latin American nation to host the Congress, which will bring some 4,500 researchers from around the world to Rio de Janeiro, again highlighting Brazil’s commitment to investing in global human capital.

In addition to Mr. Artur Ávila (a 35-year old Brazilian mathematician who was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians (the Congress) in Seoul, South Korea), four Brazilians were invited to lecture at this year’s Congress in Seoul, also all from the IMPA:  Fernando Codá, Carlos Gustavo Moreira, Mikhail Belolipetsky and Vladas Sidoravicius.

The IMPA has built a global reputation for supporting ground-breaking research, often in partnerships with other leading institutions around the world, as well as for educational activities to assist the development of young Brazilians across the country.  For example, the IMPA supports Brazil’s Olympic Mathematics Program – a national competition involving 190,000 students, as well as teachers from 5,300 schools and 155 graduate courses across Brazil. Mr. Ávila is just one example of a former Mathematics Olympian who has gone on to achieve global breakthroughs in his field.


Girls From Brazil’s Slums Find Escape In Ballet

August 25, 2014

AP – Fox News Latino, 8/25/2014

Past the graffiti-covered overpass and subway tracks, in a slum penned in by high-rises, 8-year-old Gabriela Aparecida fixes her curly hair into a bun as she waits for a ride to her new favorite activity: ballet. Peeling back the tarp over the doorway, the skinny girl reaches out into the dirt alleyway to hug the church volunteer arriving to take her to dance class.

Growing up amid drug dealers and addicts, Gabriela has yet to learn how to read. Yet she and other girls from a rough neighborhood known as a “cracolandia,” or crackland, are learning the graceful art courtesy of a local church group that also offers them food, counseling and Bible studies. The class is among several groups where young dancers hope to catch the eye of a respected Brazilian ballerina who recruits dozens of disadvantaged girls for an annual workshop.

Twice a week, more than 20 girls, ages 5 through 12, board a Volkswagen van for a 10-minute ride to class, where they put on pink or black tights and ballet shoes donated by a dancewear store.

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Fury at Brazil job seeker pap smears, virginity tests

August 11, 2014

AP – The Sydney Morning Herald, 8/9/2014

Women seeking education jobs in Brazil’s most populous state should not be required to submit to gynaecological exams or prove their virginity, according to women’s rights advocates.

The education department of Sao Paulo state requires female prospective teachers to undergo a pap smear to prove they are free of a variety of cancers, or to present a doctor’s statement verifying they have not been sexually active.

Until recently, it also required women to have a colposcopy, a type of visual examination used to detect disease.

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Encouraging Brazil’s emerging middle class to buy sustainably

August 7, 2014

Pablo Barros – The Guardian, 8/6/2014

There is an economic phenomenon transforming emerging economies around the world – the rise of a new middle class of consumers. And the need for business to manage their major impact on the existing global system of production and consumption.

Encouraging these new consumers to make sustainable buying choices is one of the greatest challenges facing responsible companies today. As traditional approaches fail, businesses in Brazil are now starting to explore the power of behaviour change techniques.

Over the last ten years, some 30 million Brazilians have joined the middle class. These new consumers are swelling the numbers of a market which is already stretching Brazil’s natural resources beyond their capacity. Nevertheless, it is impossible to deny to this segment of the population the access to consumption that is already enjoyed by other Brazilians.

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Brazil Protests Fizzled, but Roots of Anger Remain

July 14, 2014

Jenny Barchfield – ABC News, 7/13/2014

The protesters who many feared would wreck Brazil’s World Cup party failed to show up. While the national team fell short of claiming the coveted championship, the country at least can say the tournament that wraps up with Sunday’s title game has gone off with only scattered demonstrations.

Brazil avoided a repeat of last year’s Confederations Cup when violent protests broke out in several cities and more than a million people took to the streets on just one night to demand the government spend on improvements for education and other public services instead of soccer. But the absence of conflict during the World Cup came less from dissipated anger than attention being glued to the games and police cracking down on even small demonstrations.

Paulo Cavalcante, a 50-year-old public servant, shouted himself hoarse during last year’s protests, even bringing his teenage daughter along on the marches. But during the World Cup, like many other Brazilians, he chose to stay home.

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