November 28, 2021

New Chapter Is First in South America

The International Churchill Society (ICS) is pleased to announce the establishment of the International Churchill Society of Brazil, the newest of our affiliated chapters and the first to be established in South America. How this came about is described below by Ricardo Sondermann, founding chairman of ICS-Brazil.

As a young democracy, Brazil has had its ups and downs. Our recent history includes a sequence of both free governments and dictatorships. The struggle for freedom has been constant for us even during the democratic periods. We look to lessons from the past to guide us, and we look to Sir Winston Churchill. Fortunately, most of his books and many of the biographies about him have been translated into Brazilian Portuguese and are readily available.

When I was a Ph.D. student at a local university, I proposed doing a thesis that analyzed some of Churchill’s speeches during the Second World War. While doing my research in 2012, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the International Churchill Society in London. I met with leading Churchill scholars and visited Chartwell and Churchill College. My work became a book in 2017 called Churchill and the Science beyond His Speeches: How Words Became Weapons. Since it appeared at the same time as the movie Darkest Hour starring Gary Oldman in an Oscar-winning performance, my book, along with Anthony McCarten’s book of the film, became a trending topic in Brazil.

In order to promote Churchill’s legacy further, we have now formed an ICS chapter in Brazil. This has been done with the help and blessings of Mr. João Espada, chairman of ICS Portugal; Mr. Craig Horn, ICS Local Chapters Coordinator; Mr. Justin Reash, ICS Executive Director; Mr. James W. Muller, Chair of ICS Academic Advisers; Mrs. Cita Stelzer, author of Working with Winston; and Mr. Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre. We are preparing to launch our website and a members’ campaign very soon. We are also working to start our own local activities next month and organize a larger congress in São Paulo in 2022.

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Unexpectedly, but much to our delight, the city of Porto Alegre, where we are settled, donated a lovely area by the riverbank to be called Winston Churchill Place. We will continue to keep the entire Churchillian world updated on this exciting project. Meanwhile, we are very glad to be part of the International Churchill Society, and we thank you for the trust you have placed in us. We shall never give in.

The newest issue of Finest Hour, which explores the theme “Churchill’s Artistic World,” includes an article about how the painting by Churchill known as the Blue Sitting Room was purchased by the “Citizen Kane of Brazil,” who then donated it to the Museum of Arts, São Paulo (MASP), where it remains today.

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