Issue No. 14, Fall 2009, Volume 9, Number 1

Foundation Matters

Photo illustration

A new scholarship enhances the Brazil-Miami Bond

A partnership between the College and the Cultural Center Brazil-USA provides scholarships to Portuguese-speaking students.

The Cultural Center Brazil-USA is a nonprofit organization founded by a group of Brazilian volunteers living in Miami. To accomplish its objective – disseminating Brazilian culture and strengthening the cultural roots of Brazilian children who live in the area – the Cultural Center maintains partnerships with other nonprofit groups, corporations and educational institutions to promote cultural and social events.

With support from Tam Airlines, Brazil’s largest carrier, and the Odebrecht Group, a Brazilian construction and engineering conglomerate, the Cultural Center established the new scholarship program at MDC.

“With Brazil’s role in trade with South Florida, it makes sense to teach the culture to students,” said Adriana Sabino, president of the Cultural Center. “We believe that the students in South Florida will become our legacy, the natural ambassadors of our culture.”

Jurua Riqueza, a first-year student working toward an associate in international relations at MDC’s Wolfson Campus, is one of the two inaugural recipients of the scholarship.
“It means a lot to me. As a foreign student, it means I will be able to stay here and finish my education,” Riqueza said. “I was shaking when I received the news.”

The scholarship will help her in achieving her ultimate goal of working for a prominent international company.

And because the scholarship covers tuition expenses, Riqueza can now travel home to Brazil to visit her family between semesters.

More than $11 million in goods and services are traded between Brazil and South Florida each year. “By encouraging teaching the language and culture of Brazil, this scholarship will help expand trade opportunities for Brazil and South Florida,” said José Sampol, director general of Tam Airlines.

In the long run, the partnership will produce ambassadors of Brazilian culture in South Florida, further enriching the community. 

“I chose to give to establish this scholarship fund because I saw the potential that opportunity could unleash,” said Gilberto Neves, president of the Odebrecht Group. “I found good value in the program and saw the great benefits to the community.”
The Cultural Center hopes to form additional corporate partnerships in order to offer the scholarships to more students.

For more information on this and other Foundation initiatives, call 305-237-3240 or visit

— Lourdes C. Balepogi and Katherine Joss

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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disability, veteran’s status, ethnicity, pregnancy, sexual orientation or genetic information. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the
Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577.