Jorge Paulo Lemann, an investor and former tennis champion, promotes competitiveness in Brazil by supporting improvements to the educational system and extending opportunities for young leaders to develop themselves through study and sport. Now he has donated $500,000 to send Brazilians with great academic promise to UCLA for undergraduate and graduate study and also to help qualified UCLA students who want to study in Brazil.
A Brazilian born to Swiss immigrants in 1939, Jorge Paulo Lemann is an investor who uses his wealth to improve the educational system in Brazil and to provide educational opportunities at home and abroad for future Brazilian leaders. He is also a major supporter of Brazilian studies programs, scholarships and fellowships at U.S. universities including Illinois, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and now UCLA.
The Jorge Paulo Lemann Scholarship and Fellowship Fund, established with a generous gift of $500,000, will assist UCLA departments and programs in recruiting top Brazilian students who excel academically and are in need of financial assistance. The fund will also provide a limited number of fellowships for UCLA students to study in Brazil and for Brazilian students to participate in short-term programs at UCLA.
In occasional interviews and through two education-focused philanthropic endeavors, Fundação Lemann and Fundação Estudar, Lemann has expressed a vision of progress for Brazil that puts development of human capital at the center. As he explained to a University of Illinois College of Business publication in 1999, the year of Brazil's currency crisis, "Inflation, fiscal deficits, debt problems can all be worked out and fixed. Education has a much more lasting effect and takes longer to fix." He was right. Brazil recently has enjoyed one of the world's fastest rates of economic growth and has even been lending money to the International Monetary Fund. Commenting on the impressive progress made by Brazil, UCLA's distinguished Chilean-born economist Sebastián Edwards expressed a view apparently very consistent with Lemann's efforts: "Now the problem is the world is so competitive that you really need to make significant improvements, especially in your educational system."
As a tennis player at Wimbledon and the Davis Cup, Lemann was known for his baseline game and never-say-die approach. His efforts to tap the potential of fellow Brazilians have been just as disciplined. The Center for Brazilian Studies is proud to play a role in these efforts and, once more, to expand UCLA's historically strong relationships of educational collaboration and exchange with Brazilian institutions.