img_instituto1Maryland-Rio Partners of the Americas is proud to support The Grael Project of Niteroi, Brazil. The project, which serves children and young adults, provides environmental education and vocational skills that are built around the environment to those who would otherwise not have the means to receive such training. The after-school project is built around the theme of sailing and takes place in the area where sailing first began in Brazil. Classes offered in fiberglass, carpentry, and electronics, among others, not only teach youth how to design, build, and maintain boats, but the classes also allow students to look at their environment through a different lens. By thinking interpretively about the weather, the tides, the wind, and pollution in the water, for example, students become more concerned and aware of how they and others treat their environment. With Project Grael, doors have been opened to lower income kids enrolled in public schools. Opportunities for environmental education were closed off to this community for a long time. For more information on Project Grael, please see its website (


Maryland-Rio University Student Exchange Program

August 20, 2017

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Students attended a seminar on work of the Department of Environmental Sciences at Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro.

On August 12, 2017, eight University of Maryland students, led by professor Peter May, arrived in Rio de Janeiro for a 2-week travel-study program focused on ecology and natural resources management. The program is conducted by cooperative effort of Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ), Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), University of Maryland, and Partners of the Americas, led by the Maryland and Rio state chapters. Many other volunteer organizations, agencies, and individuals support the program. In alternate years, a like number of students from UFRRJ and UFF travel to Maryland. The exchange program is in its 24th year.

Click on “What We Do” on this website to read more about the exchange.

Students were welcomed to the Environmental Sciences Department of UFRRJ on Monday, August 14, where the Department Head presented a lecture outlining the various disciplines within the department and lines of research being conducted by professors and students.

On Wednesday, August 16, the group traveled by boat to learn about dolphin research being conducted in Sepetiba Bay. A PhD student from UFRRJ explained his research on animal identification by photographs and bioacoustics.

Each day of the program is packed full of similar experiences. Students will return home on Saturday, August 26.

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Students observed dolphins in Sepetiba Bay and learned about research being conducted on them.


Niterói Mayor Visits Maryland

May 12, 2017


Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides (left) discusses the potential for closer ties between Annapolis and Niterói with Niterói Mayor Rodrigo Neves. All photos by Flavio Pessoa, Communications Advisor to Mayor Neves.


Bob Agee (left), Adviser to Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides, welcomes Mayor Neves to Annapolis.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, Mayor Rodrigo Neves of Niterói, Brazil, and four of his staff members visited Maryland. Maryland Partners of the Americas and Bob Agee, Adviser to Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides, prepared the two-day program for them. On Saturday, the delegation visited Annapolis for a tour and discussion with Bob Agee, Lowell Adams of Maryland Partners, and representatives of the Annapolis Yacht Club, the Eastport Yacht Club, and Annapolis Boat Shows. The main purpose of the visit was to discuss ways to advance the Sister-Cities Partnership between Niterói and Annapolis. The two cities signed a Protocol of Intentions in 2007 to, among other things, provide the cities of Niterói and Annapolis the condition of Sister-Cities, and promote technical, sport and cultural cooperation and the exchange of strategies and public policies to the benefit of the inhabitants of the two cities. On Sunday, the two mayors met to further discuss ways to advance the Sister-Cities Partnership.


Saturday’s visit to Annapolis began in City Hall with a briefing by Bob Agee. Left to right, Luiz Paulino, Secretary of Development for Niterói; Giovanna Victer, Secretary for Planning, Management and Compliance for Niterói; Bob Agee; Niterói Mayor Rodrigo Neves; Lowell Adams, Treasurer and Past President, Maryland Partners of the Americas; Jackson Maia, Rio Partners of the Americas; and Ellen Benedetti, Under Secretary of Strategic Management for Niterói.


Niterói Mayor Neves was welcomed to the Eastport Yacht Club by Commodore Heather Ersts. There was excitement about future interaction between yacht clubs in Annapolis and those in Niteroi.

Also on Sunday, the Niterói delegation toured Historic Bladensburg Waterfront Park with Maryland Partners members Michael Jones, Richard Dolesh, and Peter May. The day included a walking and boat tour of the park and discussion of re-development of environmentally damaged waterfront into a public park and enhanced natural resources.


On the Anacostia River. Left to right, Giovanna Victer, Michael Jones, President of Maryland Partners; Rich Dolesh, Vice President of Maryland Partners; Ellen Benedetti, Mayor Neves, Peter May, Secretary of Maryland Partners; and Luiz Paulino.