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Former Brazilian ambassador to U.S. will headline business conference

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

LAWRENCE — Rubens Antonio Barbosa, former Brazilian ambassador to the U.S., will give the keynote address at the University of Kansas School of Business international conference Brazil: What’s Next?   

Coming right after the Oct. 26 Brazilian presidential elections, the conference promises to provide timely information on the future direction of the Brazilian policy environment.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 7 at KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. The conference is free, but registration is required online.

Barbosa served as ambassador from 1999 to 2004. During that time, he worked on commercial and investment relations between Brazil and major markets in Europe, Latin America and the U.S. Barbosa served under two different Brazilian administrations and represented Brazil during both Bush and Clinton administrations.

Melissa Birch, associate professor of strategic management and international business, said Barbosa’s insights into emerging policy in Brazil and its effects on business will be valuable both to firms currently doing business in Brazil and those considering entering the market sometime in the future.

“His insights into what are areas of promise or potential friction between the U.S. and Brazil will be valuable to anyone doing business or planning to do business in the region,” Birch said. “Best of all, he's a tremendously forthright speaker with lots of experience to share.”

Barbosa is the author of numerous books, and he is a frequent writer for major Brazilian newspapers on international relations and commercial policy in Latin America. His most recent book, being released in December but available at the conference, is “Washington Dissensus,” a memoir of his time as the Brazilian ambassador in Washington.

He currently serves as president of the Upper Council of Foreign Trade at the Federation of Industries of the State of Sao Paulo (FIESP), one of the most powerful business associations in Brazil.

Birch said that this is an excellent opportunity for local business people to network with seasoned players in the Brazilian market.

“International business is about what you know, but also who you know,” Birch said. “This conference will provide a great opportunity to meet people and network with executives that can be tremendously helpful to you as you do business internationally. Many have been doing business in Brazil for years and know what works and what doesn’t.”

Accompanying Barbosa at the conference are speakers from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Ernst & Young, Shell Oil, John Deere and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, along with experts from academia.

The conference is a collaboration between the School of Business, Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies and corporate partner EY.

Register for the conference online: Brazil: What’s Next.

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