It’s only the third week of January, but 2015 has already brought a much-anticipated development for Amizade – the launch of Amizade Brazil. The story begins twenty years ago, when Amizade was founded in Santarém, Brazil to bridge North American volunteers to local social enterprises. Since then, our partners in Santarém have hosted 100s of Amizade participants, involving them in dozens of community driven projects. In two decades Amizade evolved substantially and built a network that now includes partnerships in 16 communities around the world.
A few years ago, Amizade had an opportunity to expand local partnerships in Santarém to involve state and federal universities as well as municipal governments. At the same time, Amizade’s long-standing goal to send Brazilian students on Amizade programs to the US and around the world had transitioned from idea to reality. A new paradigm was born, and Amizade recognized an opportunity and need to establish an organizational affiliate – Amizade GSL Brazil (or, in Portuguese, Associação de Aprendizagem e Serviço Global – Amizade.)
On January 2nd 2015, Amizade’s Project Director, Nathan Darity, and Amizade’s founder, Dan Weiss met with Micah Gregory, the Brazil Site Director to finish drafting the bylaws, invite board members and seek the necessary legal processes formalizing the creation of Amizade Brazil. On January 5th, Amizade Brazil held its first board meeting to approve the bylaws. The members of this newly formed board of directors include:
- President: Steven Winn Alexander, former Brazil Site Director and recently inducted into the Amizade Hall of Fame
- Vice-president: Dr. Ana Paula Tavares, Amizade preceptor and dentist
- Treasurer: Micah Gregory, current Brazil Site Director
- Chairman of the Fiscal Counsel: Dr. Dan Weiss, Amizade Founder and former Brazil Site Director,
- Fiscal Council member: Prof. Katrine Escher, professor at UFOPA
- Fiscal Council member: João Nilton, lead accountant at the Fundação Esperança
- General Assembly member representing Amizade USA: Nathan Darity, Amizade Project Director
As a legal entity, this new affiliate will improve Amizade’s capacity to send Brazilian students abroad on service-learning opportunities, increase our eligibility to work with government services and projects, and give our organization an even better pathway for local involvement and local oversight.