October 19, 2006
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte ’63, Woods Hole Research Center scientist I. Foster Brown ’73 and educator Amy Rosenthal ’02 will present a lecture on “Contemporary Brazil: Law, Politics and Resources” at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, in Stirn Auditorium and a panel discussion the same evening at 7:30 p.m. also in Stirn Auditorium at Amherst College. The second in a series of lectures titled “The Rain Forest Crunch,” sponsored by the environmental studies program and the Office of the President at Amherst College, the talk and panel are free and open to the public.
After Amherst, District Judge Peter J. Messitte received a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. Messitte then joined the Peace Corps as a volunteer and was stationed in Sao Paulo, Brazil until 1968. Upon his return to the U.S., he entered private practice in Washington and Maryland. An associate judge in Maryland from 1985 to 1993, Messitte was nominated for appointment as a United States District Judge by President Bill Clinton, and received his commission in 1993.
In addition to many awards in the U.S., Messitte has been honored in Brazil with the Gran Cruz da Ordem de São José Operário for Judicial Merit in the field of labor, Tribunal Regional do Trabalho, Mato Grosso and the Medalha de Mérito Acadêmico, Academia Paulista de Magistrados, for Academic Contributions to the Brazilian Judiciary. Messitte was a member of the International Judicial Relations Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States between 1997 and 2003, chairing the Working Group for Latin America and the Caribbean. He has served as a consultant on judicial reform projects throughout Latin America and Africa, and most recently in Turkey.
I. Foster Brown was an independent scholar at Amherst and went on to receive M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geology from Northwestern University. Since 1987 he has been a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) and since 1996, a professor of ecology and natural resource management at the Federal University of Acre (UFAC) in Rio Branco, Brazil. From 1981 to 2002 he was an associate professor of geochemistry at the Federal Fluminense University in Niteroi, RJ, Brazil. Specializing in sustainable development in the Amazon basin, Brown coordinates the WHRC’s program dealing with deforestation, water quality and land use in the Brazilian Amazon and directs the program for human resource development in Third World countries. He has published widely in those fields, and is also the author of “Innocence in Brazil,” a travelogue, published online by the Woods Hole Research Center.
A member of the Brazilian Committee on Education for the Large-Scale Biosphere Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia from 1996 until 2000, Brown was also a member of the working group for establishing the University of the Forest in Acre, Brazil, and later the coordinator of two successive UFAC research projects supported by the Pilot Program for the Preservation of Brazilian Tropical Forests. UFAC is one of only two Amazonian universities awarded support, and the latter project was one of two chosen for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, June 2002.
After Amherst, Amy Rosenthal received an M.A. degree in international educational administration and policy analysis from Stanford University, and worked as a researcher at UFAC, where she helped direct a rural education project focused on natural resource management. She will be conducting out research in 2007 in California, New Zealand, Brazil and Peru.