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Diplomacy in Action

U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan Promotes Racial and Ethnic Equality

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
December 5, 2010


“Our Joint Action Plan with Brazil has laid the foundation for the State Department’s regional diplomacy on race, ethnicity, and social inclusion…”  --Assistant Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela

The U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality recognizes that Brazil and the United States are multi-ethnic, multi-racial democracies whose ties of friendship are strengthened by shared experiences. Both countries recognize and celebrate the rich contributions of African descendent and indigenous populations to the fabric of our societies.

The Joint Action Plan, signed in March 2008, pledges an ever-deepening and ongoing collaboration between the two governments to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination and promote equality of opportunity in both countries. The official launch of the initiative on October 31, 2008 was followed by a Steering Group inaugural meeting comprised of agencies from both governments.


The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs established the Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Unit in July 2010, as the new mechanism for implementing the U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan and similar initiatives in the Western Hemisphere.


The Joint Action Plan calls upon both governments to collaborate in promoting cooperation, understanding and exchange of information to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for all. The Joint Action Plan encourages the continued involvement of civil society and the future participation of the private sector from both countries, viewing them as critical to the success of the initiative. Both governments have instituted legislation and policies to promote social justice and social inclusion for all members of society. Under the Joint Action Plan, the partners will continue to share their best practices, resources and information to promote equality of all racial and ethnic groups.

A binational Steering Group has developed specific areas of cooperation and will continue to meet alternately in Brazil and the United States. Members of the Steering Group represent Brazilian and U.S. Government entities. Presently, members of civil society provide guidance for the future endeavors of the Joint Action Plan. Active participation of the Brazilian and U.S. private sectors is envisioned for the near future.

Subjects under consideration by the Steering Group include:

  • Education, including equal access to quality education and the role of education in countering ethnic and racial discrimination;
  • Culture and communication;
  • Equal protection of the law and access to the legal system;
  • Labor and employment;
  • Health; and
  • Environmental Justice

In the future, the Steering Group will consider other topics including:

  • Housing;
  • Sports and recreation;
  • Domestic enforcement of anti-discrimination laws and policy;
  • Access to credit and opportunities for vocational training; and
  • Social, historical, and cultural considerations that may be related to racial or ethnic prejudice.

Techniques and Initiatives for the Promotion of Equality include:

  • Training programs;
  • Regional initiatives;
  • Public-private partnerships;
  • Workshops;
  • Seminars;
  • Technical expert exchanges; and
  • Scholarships and fellowships.

For more information please e-mail us at:

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