Michelle Obama Encourages Brazilian Youth

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First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia watched a traditional capoeira performance at a restaurant in Brasilia as part of a cultural exhibition with young Brazilians

First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia watched a traditional capoeira performance at a restaurant in Brasilia as part of a cultural exhibition with young Brazilians, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, who have participated in a range of U.S.-sponsored exchange and leadership development programs. “The United States and Brazil are two of the largest economies and two of the largest democracies in the Western Hemisphere,” Obama said March 19. “But we have always believed that the future of both our nations depends on more than just relationships between presidents and prime ministers.”

Many of the young Brazilians attending the cultural performance with the first lady and her daughters actively participate in U.S.-sponsored programs aimed at enhancing their educations and helping develop young leaders. In January 2010, the first lady met with more than 30 Brazilian young leaders who were participating in the U.S. State Department’s Youth Ambassadors Program. Many of the young people attending the performance have participated in a variety of exchange programs between the United States and Brazil, are studying English or have been recognized by the Brazilian government for outstanding achievement in math and science, the White House said.

Mrs. Obama said that if the nations of the world are to grow together, they have to communicate — talk with one another and listen. “And that’s why I’ve always believed that it’s important for young people everywhere to build those friendships around the world, to learn different languages,” she said. She encouraged the young Brazilians to pursuit their educations because that is the one thing that will lift them out of poverty. It was the lesson she learned growing up — that “the most important thing was an education,” she added. “I knew I had to study and I had to stay focused, just like so many of you are, in order to reach my dreams,” Obama told the young people. “We need energetic, smart, young people to fix the problems in the world. And that’s going to be all of you one day soon,” the first lady said.

Among those who participated in the event, the "Associação Raizes do Brasil" in conjuncture with Mestre Ralil Salomão where chosen to illuminate Michelle Obama about what traditional capoeira is about. Their aim is to present and disseminate capoeira as a traditional sport in Brazil, using it as a rich tool for the improvement of social integration in the lives of children, and adolescents of disadvantaged communities. Mestre Ralil Solomão founded the "Associaçao Raizes do Brasil" in 1980 with their headquarters established in Brasilia. His students, always guided by the philosophy of his work, have multiplied and gained recognition in the city and surrounding areas. Mestre Ralil dedicated himself to the coordination and maintenance of the Association Raizes do Brasil, which currently has approximately 11,000 members in Brazil and around the world including countries such as the US, France, UK, Japan and South Africa- always with the objective of capoeira as a sport, an instrument of socialization, education and self-improvement. Several young people who began practicing capoeira with Mestre Ralil, today support their families, attend college, own some sort of transportation vehicle, live with dignity and are an example of the philosophy and principals the "Associaçao Raizes do Brasil" aim to put forward.

Contact:
Mestre Ralil
Email: ralil(at)raizesdobrasil(dot)com(dot)br
Phone: 55-61-9219-5479

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