February 12, 2007
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso will present a lecture on “Environment, Development and Democracy: Challenges for Brazil,” at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 5, in the Cole Assembly Room at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Victor S. Johnson Lecture Fund and the Office of the President at Amherst College, the talk and panel are free and open to the public.

The president of Brazil from January 1995 to December 2002, Cardoso is the author of The Accidental President of Brazil (2006), a memoir that details his unique experience as the leader of a politically vibrant and culturally rich country. A professor of sociology and a leading scholar of race and class in Brazil, Cardoso opposed his country’s military dictators and was exiled from 1964 to 1968. In 1986, Cardoso was elected to the senate, representing the state of Sao Paulo. In 1988 he co-founded the Social Democratic party. From 1992 to 1993, Cardoso served as Foreign Affairs Minister. A leading figure in the “dependency school” of criticism of first-world dominated development, Cardoso was Brazil’s Finance Minister from 1993 to 1994.

Cardoso’s presidency consolidated Brazilian democracy, reduced patronage in the government bureaucracy, improved education and rural health care and resettled nearly 600,000 landless peasant families.

“Brazil is an unknown giant,” Cardoso said, discussing his memoir. “It is the world’s fifth-biggest country, yet most foreigners know only ‘The Girl from Ipanema.’ So I wanted also to write a book to introduce ‘the country of the future’ whose time, in my view, has finally come, and tell the marvelous story about how the land of Carnival and the favela, of futebol and caipirinha is slowly overcoming its legacy of dictatorship and slavery to become a modern, powerful and vibrant society.”