In the first edition, which was simply called Brazil Conference at Harvard University, took place at Harvard College and had the theme "Brazil +30: The Legacy of 30 Years of Democracy and the Challenges of the future." The event had three pillars, which guided the panels: Institutions, Education and the Brazilian Economy in the 21st Century. Respected figures such as Luís Roberto Barroso, José Serra, Celso Amorim and many more were present at this inaugural event. This first edition was also sponsored by ABInbev, Falconi, Colégio Etapa, Lima and Falcão, Wolf Klabin and Claudio Haddad.
The Brazil Conference at Harvard & MIT is an annual event held in April and is organized by the Brazilian student community in the Great Boston Area since its inception in 2015. It takes place at both Harvard and MIT and has an ultimate goal of promoting a forum including both leaders and representatives of Brazil, with a mission of unfolding innovative solutions for the country's future.
The event, initially designed in 2014 by Brazilian undergraduate students, was the culmination of a movement that wanted to bring to Boston — a city famed for educational brilliance —, Brazilian intellectuals to discuss and address the issues and overall future of the country. At the request of Brazilians from the Harvard Kennedy School, the Brazil Conference was established, allowing the participation of masters and doctoral students. What was born as a small event to celebrate the 30 years of our country's democracy, is already called by the press the "Brazilian Davos".
For the second edition, the initial student organizers formed a direct partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This spearheaded the birth of what is today known as the Brazil Conference at Harvard & MIT. The theme for 2016 was "Brazil and the current crisis" and the event took place at Harvard Business School and the MIT School of Management. However, the number of speakers and visitors that attended had exponentially grown.
There were more than 50 guest speakers who addressed their opinions on the matter, and more than 400 people in overall attendance. Among the main speakers were Jorge Paulo Lemann, Jim Collins, Rodrigo Janot, Abílio Diniz, Luís Fux, Joaquim Falcão, Neca Setúbal, Otaviano Canuto, Ciro Gomes, David Neeleman and Gisele Bündchen. The number of sponsors for the conference also increased to 16 and included famed names such as ABInbev, Credit Suisse, Lemann Foundation, Instituto Península, Cláudio Haddad, MIT Brazil, Azul, Sorridents, and many more.
Furthermore, the Ambassadors Program was launched aiming to allow students from Brazil to gain a first hand experience at the conference and take back to the country, in a short time frame, the ideas and thoughts discussed. The mission of the Ambassadors was to move the message forward and help build a better country. Over 1,400 students applied for the program and four were selected.
With the tremendous success of previous editions, the third edition of the Brazil Conference at Harvard & MIT had defined itself as a platform for the discussion of both problems and solutions related to Brazil. To shed light on the situation of the country at the time, the chosen topic for the year was #DialogoQueConecta (Dialogue that Connects). The mission was to bring together the various opposing views of the Brazilian population (a population that was polarized and constantly confronting one another in the streets and on social networks) into conversations that surpass party barriers. In addition, the conference also featured lectures discussing economics, sustainability, society and various other topics.
Among the participants were Jorge Paulo Lemann, Warren Buffett, Sérgio Moro, Dilma Rousseff, Arminio Fraga, Marina Silva, Deltan Dallagnol, Nizan Guanaes, Flávio Augusto, GIlberto Gil, Wagner Moura, Luiza Trajano, Djalma Ribeiro, Kaká, Michael Sandel, Luís Roberto Barroso, Luciano Huck, and many more.
The second edition of the Ambassadors Program counted more than 8,600 enrollees and brought to Boston 5 finalists, one from each region of Brazil. They had the opportunity to watch the conference in person, talk with the guests and exchange experiences, not only between them, but also other leaders who were present at the event. Upon returning to Brazil, they were tasked with spreading the knowledge and experiences from the event.
Moreover, this year launched the HackBrazil competition. The initiative was born from the idea of creating a connection between Brazil and the innovation ecosystem' existing inside MIT. The main goal was to create a platform able to transform the Brazilian reality using different technologies and bring to life great ideas. The selected teams received specialized mentoring and participated in virtual workshops. More than 300 projects registered, of which 20 were selected to implement their respective proposals. During the event, Luciano Huck facilitated the presentation of the five remaining finalists to a panel of judges made up of renowned entrepreneurs, such as Gustavo Roxo, chief technology officer of investment bank BTG Pactual, and Camila Farani, president of Gávea Angels, one of the main groups of angel investors in Brazil. Last but not least, the audience had several figures from the investment market, allowing the teams to have a great exposure and the possibility of making connections to take the projects even further.
The fourth edition of the Brazil Conference at Harvard & MIT, has the goal of promoting our hashtag #AcaoQueTransforma (Action That Transforms). The event is confirmed for April 6th and 7th of 2018. The mission is to bring to Boston people who can talk about ongoing initiatives helping to change the country.
In addition, the event will have the 3rd edition of the Ambassadors Program, which will bring five undergraduate students from Brazil to the conference in the Great Boston Area, with all-expense paid by the organization. Over 16 thousand students enrolled and five participants, one from each region of Brazil, have been selected.
The second edition of HackBrazil competition will have a grand prize totaling 50 thousand reais. The award will go to the team with the best solution for current challenges in Brazil. The competition had 565 registered participants, a 70% increase compared to last year! 25 teams have moved on to the Maker Phase and 5 will be selected for the finals.
Check out the programs' pages for more information.