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The important announcement about Brazil winning the bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games in the city of Rio de Janeiro is a good reminder to us that the world is changing, and that new players are emerging on the scene.

Rio de Janeiro won the bid to host the Olympic Games following fierce competition with the cities of Tokyo, Chicago, and Madrid. Tokyo was the first city to be ruled out, followed by Chicago, whose nomination was backed by a strong PR campaign, which included a personal visit from Chicago native, US President Barack Obama, along with television host Oprah Winfrey, to the city of Copenhagen in Denmark where the International Olympic Committee was making its decision. Madrid had a good chance of winning, but its bid was hindered by the fact that another European city – London – will play host to the 2012 Olympic Games. Rio de Janeiro is situated in Latin America, a continent that has never hosted the Olympic Games. The Brazilian delegation was led by a number of bright public figures, such as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, international football legend Pele, best selling Latin American author Paulo Coelho, and others.

Brazil reflects the new world; it is a multi-ethnic world in the southern hemisphere that has experienced poverty, underdevelopment, disease, and illiteracy. However Portuguese-speaking Brazil, which is the largest country in Latin America, is known primarily for its exports of football, samba, and Latin jazz, as well as for the famed Rio Carnival, the Copacabana beaches, and the famous statue that stands on the peak of the highest mountain [Statue of Christ the Redeemer], all of which have transformed Brazil into a serious country which has now become one of the world’s most important developing economies. Some economic analysts believe that Brazil may become the world’s fifth largest economy in time for the 2016 Olympic Games. Brazil also has one of the world’s largest poultry companies (Sadia). Brazil is also considered to be one of the major world exporters of paper, wood, iron, ceramics, leather, furniture, and metals. Brazil has a population of over 200 million, and has a landmass of 3.5 million square miles. The country’s population is made up of the indigenous natives, as well as Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, and African settlers; Brazil also has an Arab community of around 10 million people, the majority of whom are from Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine.

Brazil represents an important transition from the chaos, lawlessness, corruption, and military rule of the developing world, to first-rate government, diverse investment in a rapidly expanding economy and an effective utilization of the country’s natural resources. However, Brazil continues to represent a reckless assault on the environment. The Amazon Rainforest is considered the world’s lungs, and the extent of the abuse against it has reached complex levels with regards to the sensitive balance between the world’s jungles, air and seas, as well as the frightening poverty and crime rates in Brazilian cities. However there are serious plans to meet these challenges. Year after year, Brazil faces these challenges with the standard of first-rate government and an advanced economic framework, which is reflected in the state of the country as a whole, and the confidence of the citizens in its government, and of course the trust of international investors. Brazil was once just a country for “fun” but now it has turned into a serious country that has gained the respect of the world, and such respect was further consolidated by Brazil winning the bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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