Over the last decade, Brazil has shown itself as an increasingly important and committed player in the field of humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping. During the Lula presidency, known for its efforts to reduce poverty and inequalities, Brazil also increased its international footprint and scaled up its international humanitarian engagement.

The shift includes both sending troops to UN peacekeeping missions and increasing South-South foreign aid and technical cooperation. The prime example is the involvement in Haiti, where the Brazilian army since 2004 has been leading the UN stabilisation mission, MINUSTAH. This humanitarian engagement also serves Brazil's foreign policy and international ambitions. Its foreign aid budget skyrocketed from USD 3 million in 2007 to over 95 million in 2010, although it appears to have decreased somewhat in recent years. Important changes have taken place in Brazil in recent years as well, with the shift to Dilma Rousseff's presidency since 2011 and a recent economic downturn.

Have these changes affected Brazil's international humanitarian ambitions, and if so, how?

This seminar starts with investigating what kind of status Brazil seeks through this international engagement, and whose approval in particular, if anyone's, it specifically aims to get. Further, what kind of status does Brazil appear to have among key partners on the international arena? It then moves on to assess Brazil's current international engagements, through its peacekeeping efforts in MINUSTAH in Haiti as well as its domestic refugee and resettlement policies, and by taking a closer look at its civil society and NGOs involved in the field of humanitarian assistance.


12:30-13:45: Understanding Brazil's ambitions and quest for status

  • Introduction, Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert, Senior Researcher PRIO
  • What does status mean in International Relations?, Benjamin de Carvalho, Senior Research Fellow, NUPI
  • On Brazil's ambitions and quest for status, Paulo Esteves, Director, Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) of Rio de Janeiro
  • Q&A / Discussion

13:45-14:00: Coffee & fruits

14:00-15:30: A view on Brazil's current international engagement

  • Brazil's involvement in the UN mission in Haiti, Eduarda Hamann, Programme Coordinator for International Cooperation, Igarapé Institute
  • Refugees and resettlement policies in Brazil, Liliana Jubilut, Professor, Universidade Católica de Santos
  • The non-existing NGO channel: Brazilian NGOs and international humanitarian engagement as tools in Brazil´s foreign policy, Torkjell Leira, independent/University of Oslo
  • Q&A / Discussion

The seminar is organized by the BraGS project, funded by the Latinamerika program of the Norwegian Research Council.