Ambassador aims for added cultural trade

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Ambassador aims for added cultural trade

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Celina M. A. do Valle Pereira, 67, the new Brazilian ambassador to Seoul, is a professional diplomat with 37 years experience. Since she began in Brazil’s foreign ministry in 1969, Ms. Valle Pereira has worked in major cities around the world, including Buenos Aires; Washington, D.C.; Ottawa; Paris and Geneva. After serving in Berne as ambassador to the Swiss Confederation and to the Principality of Liechtenstein, Ms. Valle Pereira asked to come to South Korea.
“I like working in different fields; I especially like challenges,” Ms. Valle Pereira said at an interview with the JoongAng Daily. For the last six or seven years, the relationship between Brazil and Korea has evolved dramatically, she said. The two nations established diplomatic relations in 1959, but the relationship only got stronger recently as Brazil arose as an emerging market. This will be her last posting as the retirement age in Brazil is 70 and she wanted to be in a dynamic place rather than one with nothing much to do, she added.
Ms. Valle Pereira has joined a short list of female ambassadors to Korea, along with Filipino Ambassador Susan Castrence and New Zealand Ambassador Jane Coombs. She said that currently there are no obstacles for women in Brazil’s diplomatic circles, but in the past, the law didn’t allow diplomat couples to be posted overseas at the same time, so some female diplomats quit to be with their spouses. Since 1986, when the law changed to allow diplomat couples to go abroad together, and even to the same post, women diplomats have become more active. Ms. Valle Pereira added that the minister counselor and counselor in the Brazilian Embassy in Seoul are also women.
Ms. Valle Pereira said that during her term, she would like to export Brazilian beef, more poultry and tropical fruits such as mangoes, melons and papayas to Korea. “Korea has very restrictive import rules on sanitation,” she said, adding that Brazil is one of the world’s biggest exporters of beef, including to the United States and Europe, but not to Korea. She said currently only three Brazilian companies are allowed to export poultry to Korea, and she wants to see that increase.
Ms. Valle Pereira said she also plans more cultural exchanges to bring the two nations closer. She said she is considering bringing Brazilian pianists and painters to Korea. Recently, she attended a concert in Seoul by Sergio Mendes, a Brazilian bossa nova star, which she said was a huge success.
The ambassador’s first official project here is the Brazilian Film Festival, which started Thursday and runs through Wednesday.


Various genres featured at Brazilian film festival

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The Brazilian Film Festival is held at the Seoul Art Cinema, central Seoul. Six films are screening: today, “Sound of Brazil” (2002) at 6 p.m. and “A Love Movie” (2003) at 8:30 p.m.; tomorrow, “If I Were You” (2005) at 6 p.m. and “Vinicius” (2002) at 8:30 p.m.; and on Wednesday, “Macunaima” (1969) at 6 p.m. and “Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures” (2005) at 8:30 p.m.
At a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday, Marco Farani, curator of the film festival, said that he tried to show various genres of Brazilian film including one from the cinema novo period. Cinema novo was a movement of Brazilian filmmakers in the mid- and late-1990s.
When Brazil was under military dictatorship in 1964, movies were a way to show the social distress and political problems of Brazil, Alberto Flaksman, the head of the international department of the National Film Agency of Brazil, said. “But today, there is no censorship; we can treat a wider spectrum of themes,” Mr. Flaksman said. “We still treat social problems ― poverty, inequality ― but we evolved the themes to those that are more universal, such as comedy and love.”

The cinema is near the Jongno 3-ga subway station, line No. 5, exit 5. Tickets cost 6,000 won ($6.30). For more information, call (02) 741-9782 or visit www.cinematheque.seoul.kr.


by Park Sung-ha
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