The Agulhas Negras Military Academy (AMAN, in Portuguese), a college-level institution that trains officers for the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese), also trains foreign officers from partner nations. At the bicentennial academy, located in Resende, Rio de Janeiro, cadets seek bachelor’s degrees in military science, with an EB specialty: Infantry, Calvary, Artillery, Engineering, Quartermaster, Communications, or Warfare Material.
In 2018, 48 cadets from 17 countries attend the four-year program at AMAN, 10 of them in the first year. Countries such as Angola, Guyana, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Mozambique, Paraguay, Peru, São Tomé and Príncipe, Suriname, and Vietnam sent students. AMAN receives cadets from partner nations since 1946. Over the years more than 200 foreign officers trained at the EB academy.
According to EB Major General Ricardo Augusto Ferreira Costa Neves, commandant of AMAN, the academy’s tradition of preparing leaders while upholding the values of the land force are inspirations to foreigners. “In addition to academic and military subjects, cadets have the best environment to improve physically, intellectually, and morally to be ready to lead subordinates in the future,” he said.
The officer said the cadet exchange with partner nations is culturally beneficial to Brazilians through the transfer of professional experiences. “It is an opportunity to show the Brazilian Army’s high level of professionalism and qualification, and to promote the good practices conducted at AMAN,” said Maj. Gen. Costa Neves. “It strengthens the ties of friendship between our nations and increases our credibility on the international stage.”
The Ministry of Defense and EB, in accordance with the strategic objectives of each nation, establish the protocols and carry out the negotiations that enable this exchange between countries. AMAN’s command receives the necessary information on foreign student enrollment the year prior to the exchange program. “Countries select their best cadets to take the courses in Brazil, who, at the end of the four year-program, will return to their countries as officers, to serve in their own armies,” Maj. Gen. Costa Neves said.
Following the routine of Brazilian cadets
Upon arriving at AMAN, foreign cadets go through an adjustment period, get familiar with Brazilian culture, and the rules and traditions of EB. Cadets also prepare to join their ranks and receive clarifications about the course. Students then join the cadet corps and embark on an academic routine, attending classes and scheduled military instructions.
“From reveille to curfew, the cadet, either Brazilian or foreign, is constantly challenged to seek technical-professional knowledge, overcome difficulties, push their own limits, develop camaraderie and team spirit, and constantly uphold truth, loyalty, integrity, and responsibility,” Maj. Gen. Costa Neves said. “AMAN offers to all cadets the opportunity to experience, internalize, and practice the values that will define the attitude of future officers throughout the course of their military careers.”
Students choose their specialties at the end of the first year. “Some countries determine which branch, framework, or military service the cadet must pursue in their training. Other nations, however, offer each cadet the opportunity to choose the field of expertise that best suits them,” Maj. Gen. Costa Neves said.
Foreigners highlight their experiences
Cadet Kevveon Travis Lewis from Guyana is in his fourth year of Engineering at AMAN. For him, the experience at the Brazilian academy has been crucial, especially regarding technical-professional knowledge. “I will be able to help restructure the education and training of my country’s military instruction,” said Cadet Kevveon.
The cadet’s interest in AMAN motivated him to join the exchange program in Brazil. His grades from Guyanese schools and basic knowledge of Portuguese weighed in the selection process. “It is very difficult for all of us foreign cadets to master the Portuguese language,” he said.
The complexity of the Brazilian training differs greatly from Guyana’s military training. “In Guyana, military training is purely physical and based on military doctrine; at AMAN, however, the preparation includes physical training, military doctrine, and general studies,” Cadet Kevveon said.
For Cadet Luciano Coutinho from Suriname, on his fourth year in the Infantry course, the Brazilian military educational program was positively challenging. “In my country, only hands-on training has a heavier workload,” Cadet Luciano said. “The educational program at AMAN requires a lot of dedication from students.”
Foreign students emphasized the good relationship with Brazilian cadets and instructors. “I had the opportunity to make genuine and lasting friendships,” said Cadet Luciano. “I learned a lot with them, and there is a lot of camaraderie and experience exchange,” Cadet Kevveon added.
According to Cadet Luciano, the exchange increases their knowledge of military topics and contributes to developing professional and social-emotional competencies. “At AMAN I learned how to lead, teach, and guide my subordinates in the best way to benefit the mission,” he said. “The values I will take from this experience will positively influence future relationships between Brazil and Suriname, especially in the military field,” concluded Cadet Luciano.