Marcos Jank, Brazil’s leading scholar in international trade negotiations and a renowned commentator on Brazil’s international relations, spoke at a special breakfast Oct. 3 to launch the Canada Visiting Research Chair in Brazil Studies.
Right: Brazilian trade scholar Marcos Jank
“It is a good time to talk about Canada-Brazil relations and to strengthen regional and hemispheric integration,” Jank told about 20 university, corporate and government representatives gathered at BCE Place in downtown Toronto for the event organized by the York University Foundation. “Outside the US, Canada and Brazil are the two largest economies…. It is time to look at opportunities between the two countries.”
Jank was in Canada for two weeks as the first visiting scholar of the Canada Visiting Research Chair in Brazil Studies. The University of Sâo Paulo professor is also president of the Brazilian Institute for International Negotiations and special expert of integration and trade at the Integration, Trade and Hemispheric Issues Division of the Inter-American Development Bank. As Canada Visiting Research Chair in Brazil Studies, he was hosted at the University of Calgary.
The Chair is being established by four universities – York, Calgary, Western Ontario and Québec à Montréal – to strengthen academic, business, economic and cultural networks and relationships between Canada and Brazil. The visiting scholar will promote collaboration and outreach, head an annual conference and meet with Canadian faculty and members of the private sector; and the Chair will rotate among the universities on an annual basis.
Jank said the best integration is between North and South countries rather than South and South countries. The best way to accomplish this is through large blocs such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) that eventually eliminate barriers to trade and investment, he suggested. Without FTAA “we will see an explosion of agreements in all directions leading to much negotiation” and barriers to trade and progress.
The breakfast was sponsored by Brascan Corporation with support from Alan Dean, the company’s senior vice-president corporate affairs and secretary, and Tim Price, Chair of Brascan Financial Corporation. Stan Shapson, York vice-president research and innovation, welcomed Jank, and Ed Dosman, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, introduced him. Attending the breakfast were Brascan and other private-sector executives, the Consul General of Brazil, York University Foundation President and CEO Paul Marcus and members of the foundation’s board of directors, and York administrators and faculty.
From left: Paul Marcus, president and CEO, York University Foundation; Stan Shapson, vice-president research and innovation, York University; Eduardo Augusto Ibiapina De Seixas, Consul General of Brazil; Alan Dean, senior VP corporate affairs and secretary, Brascan Corporation, and Chair, Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce; Jank; and Tim Price, Chair of Brascan Financial Corporation and of the York University Foundation Board of Directors
Brascan has been operating in Brazil for more than a century and built the hydroelectric power and other utility services for the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sâo Paulo. Today, Brascan is the largest residential condominium developer in these cities, a leading cattle rancher and owner of 40 per cent of Banco Brascan, an investment bank. Although it withdrew from the utility sector in Brazil over 20 years ago, Brascan recently re-entered the power generating business in southern Brazil.
Submitted by Claire Horowitz, York University Foundation senior development officer, University Research Centres, with photos by Gary Beechey