Dr Marieke Riethof, lecturer in Latin American Politics, was invited to give evidence as an expert witness to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee at the House of Commons, on Wednesday 11 May 2011.

The Foreign Affairs Select Committee is currently holding an inquiry into UK-Brazilian relations, reflecting the government’s recognition of Brazil’s growing importance as a global political and economic player. Marieke Riethof appeared alongside Prof. Andrew Hurrell (Oxford), an expert in the international relations of Latin America and emerging powers.

The Committee’s questioning focused on the role of Brazil in international organisations, such as its aspiration to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, as well as its objective to strengthen economic and political relations with countries in the developing world.

Brazilian foreign policy combines a focus on Latin American integration with the argument that the current composition of the permanent members of the UN Security Council no longer reflects the importance of emerging powers like Brazil, Russia, India and China (the ‘BRIC’ countries).

The Committee’s inquiry also focused on Brazil’s role in Africa, where aid is modelled on Brazil’s own social programmes (e.g. literacy, education and ending malnutrition). Brazil’s position as a driving force of regional integration in Latin America was also highlighted, as well as its role in conflict resolution and democracy promotion.

For more information and a full transcript of the session, see the Foreign Affairs Committee’s website.