​Brazilian Civic Leaders Honored with Prestigious Gus Hart Fellowship

June 4, 2012
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is honoring two Brazilians, a leading political analyst and an innovative public education advocate, with its prestigious Gus Hart Fellowship. The 2012 Gus Hart Fellows, Sérgio Fausto and Denis Mizne, will visit Chicago the week of June 4-8, 2012, to discuss violence prevention, education reform, politics and foreign policy in Brazil and Latin America with Chicago’s government, business and civic leaders. 

They will deliver the 11th Annual Gus Hart Lecture on the evening of Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Abe Lowenthal, professor emeritus of International Relations at the University of Southern California, will moderate the discussion.

Sérgio Fausto is executive director of the Fundação Instituto Fernando Henrique Cardoso (iFHC). A key adviser to former President Cardoso, Fausto is one of Brazil’s leading political analysts. As executive director of iFHC, he is working to strengthen a network of Latin American institutions committed to enhancing the quality of democracy in the region thorough civic and intellectual engagement. 

Fausto contributes regularly to local media, including columns for the daily O Estado de São Paulo, and is a member of a group of experts linked to the Foreign Affairs Institute of the University of São Paulo. He has assumed a leadership role in Plataforma Democrática, an initiative that supports more than 30 associated institutions by fostering pluralistic debate on the social and political transformations of Latin America and the world. 

 “I joined the institute in 2003 to help bridge the gap between the growing relevance and complexity of Brazil’s interconnectedness with world affairs and the relative scarcity of institutions dedicated to understanding them,” said Fausto. 

Fausto is working to ensure that Brazil plays a major role in strengthening democracy in Latin America and has a growing and constructive impact on global affairs both as a source of innovation in public policies and as an example of religious, ethnic and racial integration.   

Under President Cardoso’s administration between 1996 and 2002, Fausto worked in three different Ministries, including as an advisor to the vice minister of finance. He earned his undergraduate degree in social sciences from the University of São Paulo.

Denis Mizne is executive director of the Lemann Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of public education. His innovative solutions to complex social problems in Brazil have made him a key leader in combating violence and mobilizing public opinion to make streets safer in his native country. 

Born and raised in São Paulo, Mizne founded the Sou da Paz (I am for Peace) campaign in 1997 to raise awareness about the alarming levels of gun violence particularly among youth. In partnership with key civil society organizations and national media support, Mizne’s campaign collected nearly 2,000 guns within its first 12 days.

 In 1999, Mizne transformed Sou da Paz into a fully functional organization. Through his work at Sou da Paz, Mizne contributed to the approval of the “Disarmament Statute,” a globally recognized legislative act regulating guns. Sou da Paz has also lead several violence prevention projects that were important to the 80 percent homicide reduction that took place in São Paulo over the last decade.

Mizne left his position as executive director of Sou da Paz after 12 years of service to join and lead Jorge Paulo Lemann’s foundation. As executive director, Mizne oversees a series of initiatives dedicated to improving education management, training teachers and supporting innovation in education. The Foundation also supports a broad fellowship program, in partnership with key U.S. academic institutions. 

“The Foundation helps create networks of talented professionals that can cross-collaborate on shaping the future of Brazil,” said Mizne. “I hope, in the next 10 years, there will be a network of over 500 well-trained workers making a difference to society in Brazil.”

Mizne also is a member of the steering committee of the International Arms Trade Treaty, an Ashoka Social Entrepreneur, and a Yale World Fellow. He earned his degree in law from the University of São Paulo Law School.

The Gus Hart Fellowship—named after Gus Hart, former vice chairman of Quaker Oats and former chairman of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs—is awarded annually to an emerging Latin American or Caribbean leader. Fausto and Mizne were selected from a competitive pool of impressive candidates from throughout the region nominated by ambassadors, diplomats, business and civic leaders and government officials.

“We are delighted to honor Sérgio and Denis as our 2012 Gus Hart Fellows,” said Marshall M. Bouton, president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “Their commitment to strengthening Brazilian society through education and civic engagement, and to ensuring Brazil has a constructive impact on global affairs, is what we seek to celebrate with the Hart Fellowship.”