By Katherine Boyce
NCSL has a decades-long relationship with Brazilian legislators. This year, 38 Brazilian legislators and legislative staff members attended the NCSL Legislative Summit in Boston, which is a testament to the strong ties between NCSL and Brazil’s National Union of State Legislators (UNALE).
UNALE brings together state parliamentarians and state legislatures across Brazil to represent state and district legislators, improve the effectiveness of state and district-level legislators, strengthen member states, enhance democracy, aid state-to-state cooperation and bolster political integration.
NCSL and UNALE signed a memorandum of understanding at the Legislative Summit outlining a robust exchange program that will strengthen the ties between American and Brazilian legislators and provide the opportunity to learn from one another’s experiences.
The study tours that will come to fruition because of the memorandum will enable legislators to explore American and Brazilian states and witness first-hand the legislative processes in each country. The chance to attend each other’s annual conference will provide NCSL’s members the opportunity to meet a wide range of legislators from differing political and geographic backgrounds.
UNALE members also attended more than a dozen sessions at the NCSL Legislative Summit. The president of the organization, the Luciano Nunes Santos, spoke passionately at a mock session in the Massachusetts State House about using mobile devices while driving.
The delegation also particularly enjoyed the opportunity to be present at the Illinois State Night Reception, where they were graciously received by several NCSL members.
NCSL helped lay the foundation for UNALE in 1996, by initiating a series of exchanges and technical training tours to help Brazilian states set up their own NCSL-like organization.
NCSL provided essential training to Brazilian participants relating to management and information systems, as well as facilitated the exchange of ideas about legislative institutions and the nature of federalism. UNALE has been flourishing as an essential Brazilian democratic linking institution since 1996.
Katherine Boyce is a policy associate for International Programs at NCSL.