ASU partners to train future global leaders of Brazil

Brasília Without Borders at ASU

Born in northeastern Brazil in a family that struggled to make ends meet, Danilo Cristian da Silva Sousa moved at an early age to Brasília, the capital city of Brazil, for a shot at better educational opportunities.

“I want to become a world-renowned economist and change the world, and knew that I needed a better education to realize that dream,” he said.

Seventeen-year old Sousa’s quest to become a force for good brought him not only to Brasília, but also to Arizona State University as part of Brasília Sem Fronteiras (also known as the Brasiília Without Borders program) that is being hosted by ASU in partnership with the Federal District Government of Brazil.

Julia Rosen, associate vice provost of ASU Online, said that the purpose of the program is to develop talent and build human capital to allow Brasília to become one of the world’s top five economically competitive cities by 2060.

The program is a four-week-long exercise that provides global leadership training for high potential students from Brasília. It revolves around three themes:

• Entrepreneurship and innovation

• Culture and community

• Civic engagement

“The Federal District Government of Brasília is interested in creating a new generation of leaders, and in order to think differently about leadership, it is necessary to have an entrepreneurial approach,” said Rosen. “At ASU, entrepreneurship is in our DNA. We live it, teach it and help students and faculty create new companies.”

To enhance the students’ educational experience, guest speakers from various backgrounds and case studies supplement classroom instruction throughout the program, along with field-based learning at for-profit and non-profit organizations, such as Intel Corporation and Maricopa County Human Services Campus, as well as a visit to the Silicon Valley to interact with start-up founders.

“One of the hallmarks of this program is that we ask students to form teams and come up with ideas for for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises that address challenges in Brazil,” said Rosen. “As part of that exercise, they need to work as part of a team and pitch their venture in front of their peers and judges, all in a second language.”

“By grounding students in the aforementioned themes, improving their English language skills and helping them understand how other people solve problems, we are preparing them to take on leadership responsibilities for Brasília in the future,” she said.

Sousa agrees. “I intend to make full use of the opportunities here at ASU because they will make everything possible for me,” he said.

According to Rosen, the idea is to open the students’ minds and widen their horizons when it comes to leadership.

“As a New American University, we hope to foster educational ties between local and international students, and build diverse partnerships to promote a new kind of higher education in the world – one that catalyzes solutions and values innovation."