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December 13
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Armenian News-NEWS.am presents an interview with Brazil’s Ambassador to Armenia H.E. Marcela M. Nicodemos.

How do you assess current level of relations between Armenia and Brazil?

The current level of Brazilian-Armenian relations is very good. In the past and current year several important events took place, which represented a major boost to the bilateral relations. First, I have to mention the opening, in December, 2010, of the Armenian Embassy in Brasilia. Also, the visit of Minister Edward Nalbandian to Brasilia, in January of this year, to participate in the inauguration ceremonies of President Dilma Rousseff. Besides, also in the past few years, the two countries started the implementation of a technical cooperation program. So far, it has concentrated mainly in the civil defense area. The Brazilian experts are sharing with specialists from the Ministry of Emergency Situations their experience in the field, through capacity building courses, three of which took place here in Yerevan, and two in Brasilia. Technical cooperation in the agricultural field is already in the pipeline.

But there is still a lot more to be done and both countries are working on that. From the Brazilian side, we hope to be able to reciprocate the several high level Armenian visits to Brazil. Minister Nalbandian invited the Brazilian Minister of External Relations to visit Armenia and we hope the visit can take place in 2012.

What are the prospects of development of economic relations between our countries? In what fields of economy can Armenian-Brazilian relations develop?

In fact, the economic relations between Brazil and Armenia are incipient. This is one of the fields in which more effort is needed from both sides. Our bilateral trade is far from what it could be. I think the first thing that needs to be done to address this issue is to create awareness among business people from each country of the potentialities and the comparative advantages of the other. This effort is being made on a daily basis, but it takes time to see the results.

There are other ways to expedite this process, though. One of them is to promote and organize business missions to the other country, in order to allow business people to get to know in loco the other’s market, needs, strengths and opportunities. Another thing that can be done, but that requires already existing business contacts and a regular trade flow between the two countries, is the establishment of bilateral chambers of commerce, with the goal of promoting trade and investment both ways.

I think that all these initiatives can be encouraged by governmental authorities, especially in the context of high level visits, even though ultimately trade and economic relations depend on the business people themselves.

How do you like to spend the holidays? What Brazilian Christmas or New Year tradition can you name?

For me, the Holiday Season, that is Christmas and New Year, is to be spent with the family. Therefore, every year, my husband and I make every effort to travel and join our two sons, who live in the United States. I would love to be able to gather my sons, my husband, my mother, my siblings and their sons and daughters, so that we all could be together for Christmas and New Year. Unfortunately, this is not possible right now, because we live in Armenia, our sons live in the US and the rest of my family lives in Brazil.

We have our Christmas tree, we prepare our Christmas supper, exchange gifts, and have a great time together. For New Year, once we are in the United States, we like to enjoy the snow and go skiing. It is a joyous time, especially because we are together.

I think that Christmas in Brazil is pretty much like Christmas in most Western countries. Except for the fact that we never have a “white Christmas” in Brazil. This time of the year the weather is hot and very good to go to the many beaches we have.

But for New Year we have a special and very beautiful tradition, mainly if you are in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Shortly before midnight all the people, dressed in white, gather in the Copacabana Beach. They bring with them white flowers and food. Sharply at midnight, everybody gets into the sea and offer the flowers and the food to Yemanjah, which is the God of The Seas. With it, they expect that Yemanjah will protect them in the New Year. This is a tradition that dates back to the time of African slaves in Brazil. But now, at the same time, a fireworks show starts, coming from the sea to the top of the high rise buildings along the coast line. I think it’s worth watching it at least once in a life time.

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