Voices from the Network: Rosa Moraes, Director of Communications, PR, Social Impact, And Hospitality at Laureate Brazil

In this month’s edition, we had the privilege of talking with Rosa Moraes, Director of PR, Communications, Social Impact, and Hospitality at Laureate Brazil, about her illustrious career at Laureate Education, her passion for culinary arts, and her inspiration to use education to change the world. 

To start, you have had many different responsibilities at Laureate Brazil. Can you tell us a little about your time here?

In 1999, I was given the opportunity to implement the first culinary arts curriculum in Brazil at Universidade Anhembi Morumbi (UAM), before it was part of the Laureate network. After UAM joined the Laureate network in 2005, I began to think about how we could scale the culinary arts programs across Brazil, and in 2008 I became the Hospitality Director for Laurate Brazil. Since that time, we introduced culinary arts degree programs at 10 institutions in Brazil plus several graduate courses in hospitality!

As Laureate started to expand its presence in Brazil, the team needed people to fill crucial roles, and I became Laureate Brazil’s Director of Communications and PR. Today, in addition to my role as Director of Communications and PR, I oversee all social impact initiatives across Laureate Brazil, and am still very involved as an ambassador for the culinary arts programs.

Since you started the first culinary program in all of Brazil nearly 20 years ago, you have helped Laureate grow its culinary offerings throughout the network. What makes you so passionate about this work?

In many cultures, food has the power to bring people together – family dinners, holiday meals, lunch with friends, etc. But it is much more than that. Food is a necessity for survival. Our culinary arts programs are not just about teaching a student to prepare a five course meal at an expensive restaurant. It is about educating students about the importance of sustainability, and the many different factors that are vital for food production. There are billions of people in the world, and they all need to eat. Preparing future leaders to be better equipped to find solutions to issues like food scarcity and malnutrition is extremely important to me.

Over the years, our culinary programs have acted as “pioneers” in the food and beverage industry in Brazil. We have excellent faculty, and our infrastructure and facilities are fantastic. We have seen how the field has changed over the years, and have played an important role in this. We have incredible alumni getting awards and recognitions, and they return to teach and give back to the students. I feel very blessed, it has been amazing being a part of this!

Being Here for Good is at the core of everything we do, and our Brazilian institutions continue to embody these values. What does Here for Good mean to you?

Here for Good means to be here to do good in the world, and be here forever. It is not only a responsibility as citizens of the world to help improve the communities in which we live, but it is about doing our part to ensure future generations will prosper. I feel very fortunate to work for a company which has this embedded in the core of its mission. Every day I learn about students and faculty doing incredible things that are changing people’s lives in our communities. For example, Medicos de Rua, managed by incredible faculty members at UAM, takes a team of students and faculty to the streets of Sao Paulo to offer free health care to our most vulnerable communities. When I volunteered at one of these events last year, I literally saw the team save a men’s life right in front of my eyes! It was an incredibly touching and emotional moment for me, which demonstrated what Here for Good is all about.

Expanding access to quality higher education to make the world a better place has been Laureate’s mission since the beginning, and is reinforced by our B Corp certification. How do these initiatives connect to our spirit of being Here for Good?

The B Corp certification requires Laureate and all institutions in the network to take a rigorous assessment that measures our impact on our students, staff/faculty, our communities, and the environment. It makes us ask ourselves tough questions about our social and environmental impact, and pushes us to find meaningful ways to improve .

During the site visits for our first certification in 2015, I was nervous because it was all so new for us! But we ended up doing really well, and it provided credible, transparent evidence of all the things we are doing to be Here for Good. This certification, though, is so much more than an assessment – it’s a global movement. My favorite way to think about how this relates to Laureate and our institutions is that we are not only striving to be the best in the world, but also the best for the world. It helps us balance our purpose and profit, bridging the gap between our academic community and our business operations. What excites me most is our role in this movement – we have the power to equip students with the skills and awareness to be ambassadors, preparing them to lead innovative companies that are determined to make a difference in the world.

Let’s shift to your work with the International Youth Foundation (IYF). What has been its role in helping Laureate scale its impact beyond its traditional students?

The International Youth Foundation (IYF) and Laureate have been partners since 2002, impacting more than 1.7 million people globally. Through this partnership, we have supported over 1700 incredible young changemankers to better equip them to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. In Brazil alone, we have supported 156 young people, to date, who have positively impacted more than 159,000 people through their social enterprises. This is not limited to Laureate students or alumni, it is for any young social entrepreneur who is committed to contributing to a more just and inclusive world. To me, this partnership is inspirational because it allows Laureate to expand its impact beyond its traditional students, and, more importantly, it recognizes that we must work together towards the common goal of advancing humanity. The partnership is just one example of how we elevate our mission to make the world better place!

What has been your most memorable experience working in Laureate Brazil?

During my time at Laureate, it has been incredible to watch our network grow and evolve, making higher education accessible to so many more than I could have possibly imagined back in 1999 when I first started at UAM. Laureate Brazil started with close to 21,000 students, and today we have more than 271,000! To watch a person grow from a young, ambitious student to a well-respected, accomplished professional is very fulfilling to me. I particularly like it when a former student returns to give back to current students! I feel blessed to be part of this – I continue to be inspired by the Laureate network and the opportunity we have to change the world through education.

What would be your final message to our audience of +65,000 Laureate members worldwide reading this interview?

To all of our colleagues – from academics to corporate employees – we are all working towards the same goal, and it is powerful. As a team, we have the opportunity to make the world a better place. We are transforming lives through education. I am excited to see what we can accomplish as a team in the years to come!