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.


For information on tickets and sponsorship, please e-mail, or call +1 (212) 751-4691.




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