About the event

The Person of the Year Awards Gala Dinner has been held annually by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce since 1970. The Gala honors two outstanding leaders – one from Brazil and one from the United States – who have been particularly instrumental in forging closer ties between the two nations. Past honorees have included President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President Bill Clinton, Min. Henrique Meirelles, and Henry Kissinger.

The 2023 Person of the Year Awards Gala Dinner, took place at The Glasshouse in New York, on WednesdayMay 10th. Over 1,000 leaders from the international business, financial, and diplomatic communities convened in New York City at this traditional gala to pay tribute to the honorees.

The Person of the Year Fellowship Program is funded by proceeds from the Person of the Year Awards Gala Dinner, and conducted in partnership with Instituto Ling, Fundação Lemann, and United Airlines, and has co-supported over 153 Brazilian students who have already graduated or are studying to obtain graduate degrees from top tier American universities.

In addition to the gala, a series of parallel events sponsored by institutions such as Financial Times, Banco Itaú, BTG Pactual, Bank of America, Citi, Forbes Brasil, and J. Safra Group contributed to making the week of the gala “Brazil Week” in New York.

The POY has become the premier event of the Brazilian-American community in the United States, and its success has enabled the Chamber to expand its annual programming to further develop the ties between Brazil and the United States.


A brief biography of Walter Schalka follows:

Walter Schalka is the recipient of the 2023 Person of the Year Awards from Brazil.

Walter Schalka has served as CEO of Suzano since January 2013.  He has played a strategic role in Suzano’s evolution, including the 2019 combination of Suzano Pulp and Paper and Fibria Celulose, and has led the company’s success by developing new products and innovating ways to meet customer needs.

Mr. Schalka began his career at Citibank and later joined the holding company of Grupo Maepar. In 1989, he assumed the role of Chief Financial Officer at Dixie Lalekla, later becoming General Manager and, in 1991, CEO (following the merger that created the Dixie Toga Group).  In May 2005, he joined Grupo Votorantim as CEO of Votorantim Cimentos, where he was responsible for operations in Brazil and 14 other countries.  In January 2013, he became CEO of Suzano.

The choice of Mr. Schalka recognizes the prominent and influential role he has played in growing Suzano into the world’s largest hardwood pulp producer and a leader in the Latin American market.  His commitment to ESG – particularly in the areas of climate change, biodiversity, and social development – is admirable and has brought about measurable and lasting change, factors that coincide with the values promoted by the Chamber.


A brief biography of Martín Escobari follows:

Martín Escobari is the recipient of the 2023 Person of the Year Awards from the United States.

Martín Escobari is Co-President and Head of Latin America at General Atlantic. He also chairs General Atlantic’s Global Investment Committee.Born in Bolivia, Mr. Escobari immigrated to Brazil and later relocated to the United States. He began his career at Boston Consulting Group in New York, later joining private equity firm GP Investments. In 1999, he co-founded, a Brazilian online retailer, and served in various roles including Chief Financial Officer (2004-07). In 2007, he joined Advent International as Managing Director, leading the company’s successful investment in CETIP, Brazil’s fixed income exchange.In 2012, Mr. Escobari became Managing Director and Head of Latin America of General Atlantic, based out of the firm’s São Paulo office.  During his tenure in the region, General Atlantic backed Brazilian companies including XP Inc., Arco, QuintoAndar, Hotmart, and Gympass, and continues to expand its operations in the region today. In January 2017, he was appointed Chairman of General Atlantic’s Global Investment Committee and relocated to New York. In January 2020, he became Co-President of the firm, also serving on its Management and Portfolio Committees and overseeing the value creation teams. Mr. Escobari is a member of the Board of Directors of General Atlantic portfolio companies Arco, dLocal, Grupo Axo, Incode, Sanfer, and XP Inc. He also sits on the Boards of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Endeavor, and the Brazilian educational charity Primeira Chance. He is a member of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Brazil Advisory Group at Harvard University.The choice of Mr. Escobari recognizes his prominent and influential role in driving General Atlantic’s growth and excellence. His leadership and commitment to investing in and supporting entrepreneurship in Brazil, while also being a leader within a global investment organization, have brought about measurable and lasting change, factors that coincide with the values promoted by the Chamber.



The Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce Amigos do Bem as the recipient of the 2023 Social Responsibility Award. The award recognizes the organization’s entrepreneurship in social responsibility, promoting the betterment of society at large.

Founded in 1993 by Alcione Albanesi, Amigos do Bem transforms lives in the northeastern hinterland, the world’s most populous semi-arid zone and Brazil’s most impoverished region. Amigos do Bem is among the largest social institutions in Brazil, with 10,600 active volunteers who, every month, transform the lives of more than 150,000 people in 300 extremely poor and isolated towns.

Through humanitarian action and social and digital entrepreneurship, Amigos do Bem is breaking a centuries-old cycle of hunger and poverty in Brazil. Today, more than 10,000 children and youth are being regularly served with education, extracurricular activities, college scholarships, and professional courses – and 1,500 direct jobs have been generated, bringing work, income, and dignity to remote villages in the hinterland.

In 2023, Amigos do Bem celebrates 30 years of dedication to social transformation in Brazil, changing lives through education, income generation, community development, social inclusion, and hunger and poverty eradication.

The Social Responsibility Award was presented to Amigos do Bem, at the 2023 Person of the Year Awards Gala Dinner on May 10th at The Glasshouse.



The Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce Gerando Falcões as the recipient of the 2023 Community Impact Award. The award recognizes the organization’s dedication to community service, promoting the betterment of society at large.

Founded in 2011 by Edu Lyra, Gerando Falcões is a social development ecosystem dedicated to interrupting poverty and transforming Brazil’s favelas into dignified and sustainable communities through education, social and economic development, and citizenship services.

Gerando Falcões upholds its mission through programs such as Favela 3D, which focuses on eradicating poverty through dignified housing, access to healthcare, education, citizenship, peace, early childhood development, income generation, and sports and leisure. Another program, Bazaar, offers low-income community members access to discounted consumer goods, with proceeds reinvested in the transformation of the favelas. Falcons University, the educational arm of Gerando Falcões, employs technology to develop children, young people, educators, and social leaders, building an equipped and empowered leadership ecosystem in Brazil.

With 270 partners and a network of 1,300 social leaders, Gerando Falcões has reached over 700,000 people across 6,500 favelas, covering 26 Brazilian states and almost 50% of Brazil’s favela territories.

The Community Impact Award was presented to Gerando Falcões at the 2023 Person of the Year Awards Gala Dinner on May 10th at The Glasshouse. 

For more information, please e-mail, or call +1 (212) 751-4691.




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