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December 11, 2019

Former Brazilian Finance Minister Dr. Nelson Barbosa Visits SFC

Dr. Nelson Barbosa

Brazil's former Minister of Finance Dr. Nelson Barbosa spoke about current Brazilian economics and politics with students in Dr. Olivia Bullio Mattos' class, "Tracking the US Economy and Monetary Policy," on December 9th. The lecture was part of a visit to St. Francis College that also included meeting with SFC President Miguel Martinez-Saenz about the College's long-standing relationships with Brazilian students and institutions.

Having served as Brazil's Finance Minister from December 2015 to May 2016 under President Dilma Vana Rousseff, Dr. Barbosa is now is a professor at São Paulo School of Economics and an adjunct professor at the University of Brasilia.
He earned his doctorate in Economics from The New School of Social Research in 2001, and was an adjunct faculty member at SFC at that time.

Dr. Barbosa's visit is the latest in a series of events that signal the College's deepening ties with Brazil. This summer, SFC students participated in the first of what will be an annual exchange with their counterparts from FACAMP, a university near São Paulo from which Dr. Mattos graduated. In August, SFC took part in EducationUSA in Rio de Janeiro, a showcase of U.S. higher education institutions for prospective students there. Many Brazilian students currently attend the College.

"Through the work of Dr. Mattos and others, we've been fortunate to enjoy so much collaboration with Brazilian people and educational bodies," said President Martinez-Saenz. "Hosting Dr. Barbosa and providing our students the opportunity to learn from someone of his caliber is part of our mission to ensure students understand the global landscape in which they live. We're thrilled that many Brazilian students find their home at St. Francis."

Dr. Barbosa's guest lecture focused largely on the impact of Brazil's slow recovery from its 2012 recession, and the challenges the country faces from extreme wealth inequality among its population.

"If you want to live in a democracy, you cannot afford to have high and rising inequality," Dr. Barbosa said, when asked about the key lesson U.S. students should know about current Brazilian economics and politics. "That bends the political power to one group too much, and that damages society and the economy itself."

Reflecting on the differences between St. Francis College today and when he last visited, Dr. Barbosa noted the increased emphasis placed on welcoming students from other countries.

"[St. Francis] has grown a lot from the last time I was here was here almost 17 years ago. I'm glad to see that there are more international initiatives attracting students. I think that's very important for St. Francis and for the students that come here as well."

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