This article previously appeared on News at Northeastern. It was written by Irvin Zhang.

With the largest economy in Latin America and the ninth highest gross domestic product in the world, Brazil has seen substantial growth within its industries over the last decade. It's up to the next generation of Brazilian students to make sure the country continues not just to grow, but to flourish, said Raj Echambadi, the Dunton Family Dean of the D'Amore-McKim School of Business. 

Northeastern students Daniel Sneyder-Pont and Eric Halpern. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

“The change begins with you, the young students who are here,” Echambadi told an audience of more than 500 Brazilian students on Friday. “It's about us banding together and collectively solving the challenges of our society.”

Echambadi's words kicked off two days of discussions about the future of the economy, politics, and technology in Brazil for the 2019 BRASA Summit, which was held at Northeastern for the first time. 

The conference, hosted by Northeastern's Brazilian Student Association, brought politicians and business executives from all over Brazil to the Boston campus. This was the culmination of a year-long effort led mostly by four Northeastern students, Daniel Sneyers, Eric Halpern, Amanda Coelho, and Cristiano Sgarbi.

Sneyers said he hopes that the breadth of diverse speakers and the networking opportunities at the conference “empower the next generation of Brazilian leaders.”

“Brazil has always been a country of opportunity and sometimes, that hasn't been fully realized,” says Sneyers, who is studying industrial engineering.

“Brazil has so many natural resources, amazing companies, and amazing talent, but often times, young Brazilians will look out and think that the world is better than them. But all of these opportunities, whether it's science, politics, technology, can and should happen in Brazil, too. People just don't realize it, and we want to activate them.”

Hosted across several different buildings on the Boston campus, the conference provided a variety of opportunities to connect with different industry leaders and receive advice on the next steps of their life.

“The point is to emphasize student engagement,” Sneyers said. “The career fair allows students to go to these interactive workshops that the companies are having, get summer internships, and network.”

Many of the speakers used their past experiences to focus on the future of Brazil. 

Roberto Sallouti, who is the chief executive officer of the largest investment bank in Latin America, reminded the students that developments he once thought “unimaginable” have already occurred and their actions will help shape the country's future.

“The next 20 years in Brazil will be transformational,” he said. 

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