CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 7, 2014) — Brazilian-born neo pop artist and advocate Romero Britto spoke to the University of Miami Intensive English Program (IEP) class at the Student Activities Center on February 28, leaving 50 students from 17 nations with some valuable insights on being an immigrant—and his autographs on their cell phones and T-shirts.
Britto told the students that his work, which graces everything from skyscrapers and parks to lunchboxes and scarves, is inspired by people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. He also shared his passion for education, which he said is what makes speaking to UM students so special. Urging the students to take advantage of every opportunity to learn, he said, “Education helps the person, community, and a country.”
Introducing Britto, who was recently named the ambassador of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which will be played in Brazil, Rebecca Fox, dean of Continuing and International Education, noted that the artist “inspires people from around the world.”
Many of them were sitting in the audience—students from Kuwait, Venezuela, Angola, Italy, Bolivia, and Britto’s homeland of Brazil, who lined up at the conclusion of his talk so he could sign whatever they had handy. Among them was student Lina Binyousef, a native of Saudi Arabia who wore a Britto scarf around her neck. She left with his signature on her iPhone.
Housed under UM’s Division of Continuing and International Education, IEP has immersed international students in American culture while preparing them for academic success through English-language instruction since 1951. It is one of the University’s oldest programs.