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Country of the Month

Dr. Thiago Rodrigues– Brazil

May 2023

"I chose this career because I felt I could collaborate with the elaboration of policies that could strengthen the Brazilian role as a relevant global actor.” 

In this month’s #CountryOfTheMonth feature, we are spotlighting Dr. Thiago Rodrigues, an #IVLP alumni from #Brazil who participated in an IVLP titled “Promoting a Prosperous, Safe, and Democratic Future” in November 2022. During this program, Dr. Rodrigues and his group traveled to Washington D.C., Saint Louis, Missouri, Denver, Colorado, and San Antonio, Texas, where they looked into initiatives and institutional arrangements that connect multiple different industries and government agencies to promote cooperation in research and development. They also explored current and potential policies to advance open and secure connected economies that create opportunities for marginalized communities.  

Dr. Rodrigues is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Strategic Studies of the Fluminense Federal University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he teaches International Relations Theory for undergraduates in International Relations, and International Security for the Graduate School for Strategic Studies. When asked why he chose this line of work, he responded, “I chose my career path while taking my major in International Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC), Brazil. There I had access to emerging research topics, such as transnational organized crime and regional integration processes, that caught my attention.” Dr. Rodrigues further explained: “I chose this career because I felt I could contribute to the production of knowledge in my area of expertise by offering critical analysis for the development of a stronger scientific community in IR/Political Science in Brazil, as well as to collaborate with the elaboration of policies that could strengthen the Brazilian role as a relevant global actor.” 

When we asked Dr. Rodrigues to share some highlights from his IVLP experience, he said: “My IVLP experience had several highlights. The first one was in Washington DC where we had the chance to know more about the African American civil rights movement and beyond. Also in DC, we had the opportunity to have a conversation with the Brazilian Desk head diplomats at the State Department, where we had the chance to share our thoughts on the Brazilian political situation getting sincere attention and acknowledgment by the diplomats.” He shared how IVLP had provided a unique professional experience of the US: “IVLP allowed me to go to Midwest and Southern cities with different social, political, and economic backgrounds from the U.S. cities I had already known. It allowed me to get in touch with a variety of professionals of fields of expertise and engagement different from my academic background. The outcome of such an intense experience is a broader and more complete picture of the US, its society, its own contradictions, and the points of similarity with Brazil.” He also stated how IVLP has helped him in his career: “Two sets of practices offered by the IVLP experience are helping to inform my current research and political initiatives. One of them is the information and practices learned from the contact with public safety experiences developed by different actors. The second one was the set of activities related to African and Latino human rights movements, particularly focused in the DC’s, Saint Louis’, and Denver’s programs.” 

When we asked Dr. Rodrigues to share something interesting about Brazil to those who may not know much about it, he stated how there are positive stereotypes of Brazil being a paradise of beaches and forests with amazing music, as well as negative stereotypes of deforestation and urban violence, and he further explains: “Brazil is a very complex country with deep contractions. The country has experienced a fast economic development since the 1920s that put it in the beginning of the 21st century among the 10 strongest economies in the world. This process has created an immense amount of richness and huge and cosmopolitan metropolis like São Paulo (the 7th biggest in the globe), but also enormous degrees of income concentration and poverty. To understand a huge and contradictory country as Brazil it is important to look at the variety of regional specificities, the complexity of its political life, the violent legacy of its colonial and slavery times (poverty, racism, patriarchalism), and the potentials of a young and vibrant civil society.” 

To end the interview, Dr. Rodrigues explained how important is for colleagues in the Global North to understand how challenging it can be for scholars from the Global South, especially for women and people of color, and to be more understanding how politics can directly impact their work: “As a Global South scholar, I have been facing challenges that are sadly routine for women and men in academia from this part of the world. Usually, our colleagues from the Global North have difficulties understanding how politics and economic realities impact our scientific work. One example is the concept of ‘scholar at risk’. During Jair Bolsonaro’s administration, the cases of threats against scholars and scientists increased. The attacks and intimidation, however, usually did not fit into the Global North’s concept of ‘scholars at risk’, because it included subtler forms of coercion. I was threatened by email from 2018 to 2019 because of my critical research and advocacy on the militarization of public security in Rio de Janeiro. My case, however, was not by far the scariest. In several regions, particularly in Africa, in the Middle East, and Asia, the situation is even worse. It is crucial that colleagues from the Global North try to understand the specificities of intellectual and scholarly lives in the Global South.” 

Thank you, Dr. Rodrigues, for sharing your inspiring story and wonderful work in educating the young academics of Brazil! We are inspired by you and your passion for your work and your country!    

And thank you to our partners at the San Antonio Council for International Visitors, World Affairs Council of St. Louis, and WorldDenver for helping with the design and implementation of Dr. Rodrigues and his group’s experience!   


Check out for more information on Thiago, his work, and his career! 

Previous Features

May 2023 COM (1).png

Dr. Thiago Rodrigues (Brazil)

"I chose this career because I felt I could collaborate with the elaboration of policies that could strengthen the Brazilian role as a relevant global actor.”

-Dr. Thiago Rodrigues speaking on his career path

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