John Tofik Karam, Director

John Karam

John Tofik Karam is a Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Director of the Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies at the University of Illinois. His first book on Arab cultural politics in neoliberal Brazil (2007) won awards from the Arab American National Museum and the Brazilian Studies Association. It was translated into both Arabic and Portuguese by Centre for Arab Unity Studies and the Editora Martins Fontes, respectively. His current book project is titled, “Manifold Destiny: Arabs at an Exceptional Crossroads of the Americas.” As part of that project, his 2013 article, “The Lebanese Diaspora at the Tri-Border and the Redrawing of South American Geopolitics, 1950-1992,” was awarded the best article prize by the Brazil Section of the Latin American Studies Association. His work appears in both the Journal of Latin American Studies and the International Journal of Middle East Studies.

Flávia Andrade, Faculty Associate Director

Flavia Andrade is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work and Associate Director of the Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies. Dr. Andrade has earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics and her master’s degree in Demography from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. She completed her master’s in Population Health and Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. Dr. Andrade is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. She has published over 100 articles and book chapters examining older adults’ health in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly Brazil. Her work has contributed to understanding how demographic, epidemiological, and nutritional changes, as well as social disparities, influence the health, well-being, and quality of life of older adults. Her work has been published in top journals in the US and Brazil. Dr. Andrade has advised many visiting students and scholars and collaborated with students and faculty in Brazil.

Elis Gomes Artz, Lemann Senior Program Coordinator

Elis Artz is the Lemann Senior Program Coordinator and manages Center programs and projects under the direction of the Faculty Program Director. She is from the northeast of Brazil where she received her professional degree in Psychology.

Jerry Dávila, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Brazilian History

Jerry Dávilla

Jerry Dávila is the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Brazilian History at the University of Illinois. He is the author of Hotel Trópico: Brazil and the Challenge of African Decolonization (Duke, 2010), recipient of the 2012 LASA Brazil Section Book Award, and of Diploma of Whiteness: Race and Social Policy in Brazil, 1917-1945 (Duke, 2003). Both books examine the role of racial thought in shaping Brazilian public policy. In 2000, Dávila taught as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of São Paulo, and in 2005, he held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro. Dávila is also the author of Dictatorship in South America (Wiley, 2013) and co-author of A History of World Societies, 10 ed. (Bedford/St. Martins, 2014).

Antonio Carlos Lessa, Lemann Distinguished Visiting Professor for Fall 2022

Dr. Antonio Carlos Lessa is the Lemann Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Fall 2022 semester. Hailing from the Universidade de Brasília (UnB) where he is Full Professor of International Relations, Professor Lessa teaches courses on the History of Brazilian Foreign Policy in graduate and undergraduate programs. He also serves as Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Coordinator at UnB’s Center for Global Studies. He founded and coordinated the Center for Brazilian Foreign Policy Studies, a laboratory for graduate students in UnB’s Institute of International Relations as well as worked with the prestigious Brazilian Diplomatic Academy (Instituto Rio Branco) and other Brazilian governmental offices in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education, Science and Technology and Defense. He has taught at the Universidad Nacional de Rosario, in Argentina; the Universidad de la República, in Uruguay; and the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil; as well as served as fellow at the Centre d’Etudes sur le Brésil at the Université de Paris-Sorbonne, and at the University of Strasbourg, both in France.