(by Melina Breitegger)
Three months at the Brics Policy Center (BPC) – a research think tank affiliated with the International Relations Institute of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) – provided me with crucial input for my research on Brazilian foreign policy and South American regional politics. The center offered many opportunities to attend talks on topics related to the PRIMO project, such as regionalism in Latin America, South-South cooperation, and international climate governance, just to give a few examples. Most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to present my research and exchange ideas on Brazilian regional policy with local experts. The Primo outreach event – a colloquium on the comparison of the role of Brazil and South Africa in regional organizations – attracted the attention of the media and led to an interview with the Brazilian newspaper O Globo. The secondment at the BPC was also a great opportunity to observe the current political situation in Brazil, including municipal elections in October and public protests against the austerity measures of the Temer government in December. What I enjoyed most at the BPC was the variety of experts that the center invited for its lectures and the opportunity to get insights into issue areas that had escaped my attention up to that point. Especially the links to politics, the media and the non-governmental sector are an interesting aspect of the research environment at the BPC that enable the researcher to interact with non-academic audience.