Juliana Barbassa: Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

Juliana Barbassa

Award-Winning Journalist and Author

Juliana Barbassa is an award-winning journalist and the author of Dancing with the Devil in the City of God -- Rio de Janeiro on the Brink, a book that draws readers into a fascinating and deeply flawed city at a crucial turning point in its history.

When Barbassa landed in Brazil in 2010, the country was booming and Rio was tackling some of its most daunting challenges -- violence, congestion, pollution and the desperate lack of adequate housing -- as it prepared to host World Cup events in 2014 and the Summer Olympics two years later.

As the correspondent for the Associated Press, and as a Brazilian returning home after decades abroad, she had questions: can the change reach deep enough to ease the jarring inequality that had been Brazil’s hallmark and its biggest hurdle? And what about Rio itself -- could specific projects underway smooth the hard edges of life in this extreme city of favelas and high-rises, white-sanded beaches and casual violence?

The answers mattered far beyond Rio. Many of its challenges were shared by other mega-cities. Would Rio find novel solutions within this high-pressure crucible? Or would it crack in unforeseen ways?

By drawing her audience into this city of extremes, through its tense police sieges and the heady onslaught of its street Carnival, and introducing them to drug dealers, economist and oil executives, prostitutes and scientists, Barbassa invites each one to reach their own conclusions.

In addition to covering Brazil, she has reported on a wide range of topics from Brazil, Mexico, Cuba and the United States over nearly 15 years as a writer, earning a Katie Journalism Award and best emerging journalist awards from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Associated Press Managers Editors.

Since leaving the Associated Press in 2013, she has written for The New York Times, The Economist Intelligence Unit and Al Jazeera, among others. She has also been interviewed about topics related to Brazil on NPR’s Morning Edition, PRI’s Radio Ambulante, Mother Jones, HuffPostLive, and the BBC.

Barbassa is a warm, engaging speaker who can connect with listeners and speak passionately about journalism and about the city and country she will always consider home.

Juliana’s presentation to my students about favelas in Rio and her work with these communities was delivered with a sense of warmth and ease. Juliana also did a fantastic job of using every day language to make complicated topics clear and understandable. Halfway through her talk, Juliana relinquished control, something that can be dangerous with a group of college students, and made the event into a conversation, one that demonstrated her ability to easily connect to her audience, her vast knowledge of Rio’s favela communities and her excellent skill at story-telling. - Augustana College

With just 12 months to go before Rio de Janeiro hosts the 2016 Olympic Games, Juliana Barbassa explores how Brazil's most iconic city is preparing to step into the global spotlight. In what is a very personal account that combines the perspective of a Brazilian expat on a long-awaited return home with the keen eye of an international journalist, Juliana explains how the games have laid bare the sharp differences between the rich and poor, civic leaders, politicians, the aspiring and the powerful. Juliana is an engaging speaker who displays a strong emotional connection to her home city and its people. She is an honest voice who can help audiences understand the challenges faced by developing countries seeking to make their mark in the 21st century. - Americas Society/Council of the Americas

Interested in booking Juliana Barbassa to speak at your next event?

Contact Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau.

(866) 248-3049

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