The international context in which Brazil was inserted in the 1960s was very limited. The country experienced a political and economic isolation from the world and did not interact much with other countries, especially regarding debates of international issues. These debates, when they happened, were exclusively about the Cold War.
After realizing Brazil's need to expand and act internationally, Mario Garnero, president of Brasilinvest Group and a great Brazilian entrepreneur, created Forum das Americas, one of the first think-tanks of the country.
The focus on the American continent was mainly due to the fact that the Americas were self-sufficient in mostly everything – from food to energy and people – and Mario Garnero saw a concrete possibility of inserting Brazil in the big international debates within the continent.
In 1965, the I Forum das Americas, an event that originated the NGO, welcomed specialists in ministerial level from several American countries in order to discuss education in the continent. It was held in Sao Paulo, from 20 to 23 November, and counted on the honourable participation of the then American Senator Robert Kennedy, as well as the Brazilian Minister for Education, Flavio Suplicy de Lacerda, and the Ministers for Education from Bolivia, El Salvador, and Paraguay.
In 1978 the creation of Forum das Americas was made official through its statute, which defined it as a “private non-profit institution created in order to stimulate the debate and the exchange of ideas in the inter-American level, whose basic assumption was the defense of the free economic exchange in order to get harmonic results in the process of hemispheric development.”
The first event organized by the NGO Forum das Americas was the conference “The Free Initiative in Continental Integration”, which took place in July 1979 in Sao Paulo. In partnership with the Organization of the American States, Forum enabled a broad debate about the status and perspectives of continental integration and counted on the presence of more than 1500 governmental authorities and entrepreneurs from all American countries. At the closing session, the “Letter of Sao Paulo” was approved; it designed the political and philosophical basis of the integration process intended.
Today, with globalization and Brazil’s broad international insertion, Forum aims at discussing the main themes of the Brazilian agenda not only for the Americas, but also for the world. Its goal is, therefore, to work as a platform for discussion and communication connecting governments, entrepreneurs, and other institutions.