UCLA International Institute, October 27, 2015 — The UCLA Center for Brazilian Studies (CBS) and the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development (Agência Brasileira de Desenvolvimento Industrial, or ABDI) cohosted the “Ninth Innovation Laboratory Rede Diaspora Brazil and UCLA” on Tuesday, October 20, 2015. CBS Director Dr. Karin Nielsen, pediatric infectious disease specialist, professor at the Geffen School of Medicine and director of the UCLA Center for Brazilian Studies, and Lanna Dioum, senior analyst of international projects at ABDI, led the event. Dr. Nielsen was awarded ABDI’s 2014 Diaspora Prize in the health sciences this spring, when ABDI hosted her for a week of events in Brasilia.
“This is a unique opportunity to assemble several Brazilian leading professionals from Southern California in the fields of health sciences, technology and business," said Nielsen. “We hope that this is the first of several Diaspora Network meetings for our Southern California group. It is a great opportunity for collaboration and future partnerships. As my colleague Lanna Dioum noted, diaspora networks are very important — some of them have the power to rebuild the county from afar, such as the case of China and India.” Added Dioum, “We see diaspora as brain gain, as opposed to brain drain.”
Attended by over 50 participants, the successful event sought to bring together Brazilian expatriates, professionals in the areas of health sciences, engineering and technology, and business/entrepreneurial activities to brainstorm about specific issues related to Brazilian development, as well as to acquaint them with the work of ABDI and the Diaspora award. Friends of Brazil who work extensively in Brazil and are fluent in Portuguese were also invited. Participants included Brazilian and Brazilianist scholars, faculty, and graduate students at UCLA, USC, Cal Tech, and UCSD, as well as graduate and undergraduate students in UCLA BSMP (Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program) and leading Brazilian professionals from companies such as Amgen, Kaiser Permanente, Rand Corporation and Embratur, from various locations such as Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, DC.
*All photos by Peggy McInerny/ UCLA.
After opening remarks by Kathryn Atchison of UCLA (Vice-Provost for International Initiatives) and, via Skype, Maria Luisa Campos Machado Leal of ABDI (Director of Technology and Innovation Development), Consul General of Brazil in Los Angeles Ambassador Bruno Bath and Dr. Karin Nielsen welcomed participants to a workshop that featured discussions and networking. Two senior ABDI analysts, Lanna Dioum and Rodolfo Milhomem, provided attendees with an overview of ABDI’s international projects.
Over the course of the afternoon, attendees participated in two panel discussions on health and technology and the potential for collaborative projects, respectively. The lively discussions actively engaged participants in informative give-and-take exchanges. Speakers included Dr. Marcia de Souza Lima of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases at the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Washington, DC (and a previous winner of the Diaspora Highlights Prize for engagement with the diaspora); Dr. Gustavo Buchele of Amgen Inc.; Dr. Jair Lage, professor of pharmacology and biotechnology at UCSD; Alex Nascimento of 7 Marketing Media, Los Angeles; Natalia Aranovich, Brazilian attorney and foreign legal consultant registered at the State Bar of California; Lucas Judice of MidStage Ventures; Felipe Cusnir, international trade specialist, Los Angeles’ Mayor’s Office; Flavio Cruz, UCLA PhD candidate, and Tatiana Hochgreb-Hägele of the Lemann Foundation and the SciBr Foundation in San Francisco.
UCLA faculty who addressed the gathering included Dr. Karin Nielsen, Dr. Satiro de Oliveira of UCLA’s Blood and Marrow Transplant Center and Pediatric Leukemia and Lymphoma Center, as well as Professor James Macinko of the Fielding School of Public Health. A mid-day coffee break and evening cocktail reception provided informal opportunities for participants to network and converse, laying the foundations for possible future collaborations and joint ventures with one another and their peers in Brazil.