When I decided to pursue a masters degree in the United States, I never thought that the fact of being far away from Brazil would, in fact, bring me closer to it. Since the beginning of my program, a dual degree in business and public administration, in 2017, I have felt every day more connected with my home land
Here at MIT, the Spring semester starts only in February and we have the entire month of January to dedicate ourselves to a project, internship or even a class that’s outside of our core curriculum. So in January 2018, with the support of MIT’s center for social entrepreneurship, I had the chance to fly back to Brazil and run a field research on education and early childhood in the states of Piauí and Pernambuco. When I got the acceptance call from an American university, I would have never thought that a ticket to Boston would also take me to “sertão do Moxotó” in the Brazilian outback. I would have never imagined that this experience here would connect me even more to my country. And I am forever grateful for this.
The Brazil Conference at Harvard & MIT is exactly that. My involvement with the conference started in the 2018 edition — around September 2017 — in the HackBrazil team. In the previous years, I had been involved with entrepreneurship and technology and was positively surprised when I met the Brazilian teams and startups from all over the country that had joined the acceleration program. Each one of them was leveraging technology to make a difference and promote positive impact in several industries and sectors.
Now, at BC 2019, even more immersed in HackBrazil, the Ambassadors Program and other expansion initiatives, I gather hope, optimism and even pride to learn about the journey of different Brazilians overcoming obstacles to build a better country. I feel privileged to be able to hear so many inspiring stories.
Harvard Kennedy School’s motto is a quote from JFK himself: “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country”. Being a part of the Brazil Conference team, to me, is an unique opportunity to be able to work side by side with fellow Brazilians who, besides the distance (or maybe because of it), work daily for the present and the future of our country.
Brazil has never felt so close. I can’t wait for April 2019.