Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development

Examine the vast human and environmental challenges confronting northeast Brazil’s populations and the impact of social inequities on economic growth.

Northeastern Brazil is a patchwork of contrasting elements: millionaires and peasants; abundant rainforests and drought-plagued agriculture; avant-garde architecture and slums all simultaneously coexist in this complex region.

Within this paradoxical context, this program examines the vast human and environmental challenges confronting northeast Brazil's populations and the impact of social inequities on economic growth. Students interact with different ethnic groups, including indigenous and Afro Brazilian populations, to gain insight into the challenges and benefits of implementing social change within a multicultural environment.

The program is based in Fortaleza, the modern seaside capital of the state of Ceará. Students attend classes at the Instituto Brasil/Estados Unidos/Ceará (IBEU-CE), a binational center dedicated to the promotion of cultural ties and understanding between the people of Brazil and the United States. Local academics, community leaders, and researchers lead lectures and seminars on Brazilian culture, development, and social justice. Students engage with leading organizations working to promote social justice in the area including the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST) and Banco Palmas.

Excursion sites typically include one other location in northeast Brazil, such as Recife, Salvador, or São Luis.

Homestays with families from a range of socioeconomic levels deepen students' understanding of inequities in health care, education, employment, land, and basic resources in this culturally diverse and economically challenged region of Brazil.

Spring 2012 SIT students visited Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, where they met with representatives from the UN Development Agency, the Brazilian government, and two nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The visit provided deeper insight into the multifaceted dynamics shaping development patterns in Brazil. Read more.
Kavin in the city of São Luis Brazil SIT Study Abroad alum applies knowledge, tools learned

“SIT’s program in Fortaleza placed me firmly on a path to success in the academic world and gave me the tools to constantly renew my connection to the people and society of Brazil, most recently through the Fulbright grant. Most importantly, I consider myself a citizen of the world, ready to think globally and act locally…”

Rebecca Tarlau Program alum and current doctoral student Rebecca Tarlau claims her “SIT experience was critical in igniting [her] passion for education.” Read more.
2014SFA Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Fortaleza

Language Study: Portuguese

Prerequisites: 1 semester Portuguese or 2 semesters of another Romance language Read more...


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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