On Nov. 21, Iêda Siqueira Wiarda, Luso-Brazilian specialist of the Hispanic Division, received the Order of Rio Branco decoration from Paulo-Tarso Flecha de Lima, Brazilian ambassador to the United States.
The Order of Rio Branco is bestowed annually to people who provide meritorious service to Brazil and for contributions to Brazilian studies. In 1997, only 82 people from around the world received the medal from the more than 2,000 nominees. The award was named for the Baron de Rio Branco, the founder of the Brazilian diplomatic service. The council of the Rio Branco Order comprises the president of the republic, the minister of state for external relations and other high officials of the Brazilian government. The award was presented in the gallery of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, which featured an exhibit of rare Brazilian books, oil paintings and watercolors from Catholic University of America's Oliveira Lima Library; these items had never been on public display.
"I admire the excellent job Iêda is doing to make the Library's rich Luso-Brazilian collections better known to scholars," said Winston Tabb, associate librarian for Library Services, who attended the ceremony with Georgette M. Dorn, chief of the Hispanic Division.
A native of Minas Gerais, Brazil, Ms. Wiarda came to the Library in 1990, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, to fill the newly created position of Luso-Brazilian specialist. She helped organize the 1997 Washington meeting of the Brazilian-American Studies Association (BRASA). One of BRASA's panels convened at the Library of Congress, where Ms. Wiarda and members of the Hispanic Division staff briefed more than 100 Brazilian specialists about the Library's collections. With the assistance of Brazilian bibliophiles José and Guita Mindlin, Ms. Wiarda was instrumental in arranging a 13-month internship for a Brazilian in the Library's Preservation Office; the intern has since taken the skills she acquired at LC to Brazil.
Ms. Wiarda also promotes many public events featuring Brazil at the Library and has recorded major authors for the Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape. She continues to present briefings on the Library's collections at such institutions as the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the U.S. Foreign Service Institute, and in the past year she has spoken in Brazil, Austria, Russia, Japan and Great Britain.