Earlier this month on Wednesday, July 12th in São Paulo, Brazil, thanks to Trustee Lorraine de Matos and her wonderful team at the Cultura Inglesa there, we hosted our second “TIRF Event” in Brazil. (The first was in 2005, and you can read about it by clicking here.) The event was a panel discussion entitled “Different Contexts and Challenges for English in the Workforce.” The two-hour event drew an audience of more than 200 local business leaders and language teaching professionals.

There were five Trustees representing TIRF in São Paulo: David Nunan, Jun Liu, Michael Carrier, Kathi Bailey, and Lorraine de Matos. Lorraine was the masters of ceremony for the event and added a number of interesting points based on her perspective of working in São Paulo. Kathi gave a brief orientation to TIRF, followed by David talking about the development of approaches to investigating and teaching English in the workforce. Michael then shared some of the findings from TIRF’s recent publication on English language training for the workforce. Then Jun talked about English language learning and teaching in China.

A number of interesting and influential local speakers were also invited to address the audience. The British Ambassador to Brazil, Alan Charlton, led off with his view of the importance of English in Brazil. He was followed by Herman Jacobus Cornelis Voorwald, the State Secretary of Education for São Paulo, who shared some data about English language developments in the public schools of São Paulo. The following speaker was Rodolfo Fücher of Microsoft, Brazil. His talk was entitled “How to Survive and Succeed: Market Condition and Perspectives on the English Skills Needed for the Knowledge Economy.” Next, Rodrigo Alberto Correia da Silva of the law firm of Britcham SP, talked about “Brazil Growth and Globalization: The Challenge of Building the Necessary English Speaking Workforce.” Data from a Euromonitor research project was presented by Marcel Motta, who talked about “The Importance of English for Employability for Brazilian Professionals.” Michael Connelly, a British Council representative working in India, talked about the importance of English learning there.

After the various presentations, Lorraine read a statement about Professor Antonieta Celani, a former TIRF trustee whom the Board recently elected as a Trustee Emerita in March. Due to a recent injury, Professor Celani was not able to attend the event, but she had sent a statement, which was read on her behalf by Mr. Antonio Mendes, the President of the Board of Directors of the Cultural Inglesa.

Prior to the event, the press person at the Cultural Inglesa conducted a Q&A with Kathi Bailey. The comments from the interview were translated into Portuguese and released to the local press in São Paulo. The result was a full-page spread in the Brazil Econômico. The top two-thirds of the page was about globalization and English in the workforce, and the bottom third of the page was the interview with Kathi. Since the initial publication mentioned above, another story has appeared in the press. Click here for that text in Portuguese. (Google translate can be utilized to read the article in English.)

We would like to point out that the Foundation incurred no expense for the Trustees’ travel and activities in Brazil. We remain dedicated to using our donors’ invaluable gifts in ways that they will most effectively help us carry out our mission.