Official Blog of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

LACIS Alumni & Former Employee Interns in Brazil for World Cup, Draws Attention!


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by Israel Pechstein, Assistant to the Brazil Initiative

Karl Whitemarsh finished his B.A. in 2013 (LACIS, Portuguese, Spanish) and continued to work at LACIS where he assumed responsibilities for event coordination, publicity, and social media activities. Karl also worked closely with Professor Severino Albuquerque on the Brazil Initiative, planning Brazil-centric programming on campus while also conducting outreach presentations in local Madison K-12 schools and community centers.

In April, 2014, Karl returned to his study abroad host city, Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Having made connections with the municipal government during his first stay in the country (2011-2012) he was able to secure an internship assisting at the Secretaria Municipal da Copa do Mundo da FIFA 2014 (Municipal World Cup Secretariat). His main responsibilities ranged from interpreting for government officials, translating official promotional materials, to guiding foreign journalists on press trips to the city.

Karl also applied to work as a volunteer for in the Brasil Voluntário program, organized by the Federal Government. During the World Cup, Karl has worked at the Open Media Center at Belo’s FIFA Fan Fest, an event space apart from the Mineirão (the second-largest stadium in Brazil) where torcedores (fans) can view the games together, eat, drink, etc.

Karl’s internship included responsibilities for publicity. As such, Karl has been featured in interviews for local and foreign television, newspapers, and radio shows in Portuguese and in Spanish.

Newspaper features Karl as volunteer for the municipal government and Fan Fest (Portuguese):ça-recompensa-sem-preço-1.860928 

Karl talks about the city’s main square, Praça da Liberdade, for RCN of Colombia for their series Expedición Brasil (Spanish):

Karl makes a statement for the Radio station Band News FM (Portuguese): 

Karl is featured in the Brazil’s National Tourist Ministry’s blog post about volunteers for the Copa (Portuguese): 

Interview for MGTV (Portuguese) for a local television station. Karl appears at 1:40:   

In the last link above, Karl is featured as a volunteer for the city’s Fan Fest. Perhaps it is because of coordination of space and events such as this that Belo Horizonte is considered the best-prepared World Cup host city?  At LACIS, we know that Karl had a lot to do with such a prestigious designation!

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However, we are not the only ones who recognize Karl’s achievements. Karl has met officials from the municipal government including Marcio Lacerda, Prefeito (Mayor) of Belo Horizonte.

Just a week after meeting Lacerda and days before the opening games, Karl attended the inauguration of an Operations Center attended by none other than Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff. In front of the crowd, Lacerda pointed out Karl to President Rousseff and Karl gave her a wave that she returned. He flashed her a peace sign, which she also returned. Finally, he made a little heart with his hands, also returned by the president.

During the tournament thus far, Karl has been very pleased with how the city has handled such a large influx of foreign tourists. “The Federal Government estimated that 600,000 foreigners would visit Brazil during the World Cup, and that about a third of this number would pass through Belo Horizonte. Just to give you an idea, this figure represents the total number of foreigners that the city hosts in any given year. I’ve been so impressed with the city. It’s also great to city how Belo has become the Latin American hub for the tournament. Besides hosting games with Colombia, Costa Rica and Argentina, 3 Latin American teams, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina, are based in and around the city. I love seeing this solidarity and strengthening of bonds between these South American neighbors.”

Needless to say, we are very proud to know Karl and we look forward to hearing about his future successes. Currently in the heat of the World Cup games, Karl has accepted a position at The Advisory Board Company in Washington, D.C., as a Portuguese-speaking Sales and Marketing Associate. We are excited to see where this experience leads him!

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