By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – It is that time again for our traditional round-up list of the most interesting foreigners in Rio for 2012. Now in our fourth year, the ranking remains decidedly unscientific, and as foreign interest builds in Rio and our news coverage expands, it is harder to pair it down to just ten.
1) David Cameron and Prince Harry
We had to combine these two international headline-grabbers to leave room for the locals, but both the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince Harry visits to Rio caused a stir. Cameron used an official visit to Brazil in September to meet with Petrobras CEO Maria das Graças Silva Foster, and in March Rio hosted Prince Harry for the English GREAT Sports Day.
2) John S. Creamer
On August 25th, John S. Creamer took office as U.S. Consul General to Rio de Janeiro, replacing Dennis Hearne. Mr. Creamer will be in Rio through the 2014 World Cup and is also overseeing a near doubling of consulate staff to accommodate the growth of Brazilian-U.S. travel.
3) Howard Borsden
On Friday November 23rd after a short illness, Howard Borsden sadly passed away, but his financial advising firm – Looking for Dylan – were big supporters of The Rio Times and The British Society in Rio. Borsden attended The British School as youngster, and after years of living abroad moved back to Petrópolis in 2006. We extend our sincere condolences to his partner Eli for her loss, and to his friends and business partners.
4) John Nixon
The British School in Rio de Janeiro first opened in 1924 and now has approximately 2,000 students across three separate campuses in Botafogo, Urca and Barra da Tijuca. Head of the school since January 2012, John Nixon brings over twenty years’ experience teaching abroad to one of Rio’s most prestigious private schools taught in English.
5) Lea Rekow
The Rocinha Mais Verde, or Green My Favela, project encourages residents of the Rocinha favela community to grow their own vegetable gardens for food. The director, Lea Rekow, and the NGO non-profit organization were asked to present at the United Nations sustainability conference, Rio+20, in June, and host workshops throughout the week.
6) Bob Fetterman
It has been an ambitious year for entrepreneur and American expatriate, Bob Fetterman in Rio. After he purchased the the Rio Bohemia Hostel in July and the Lapa Irish Pub in September, two weeks later he also invested in Mab’s Bar and Restaurant on Copacabana Beach.
7) Vera Sardinha
Like most international cities, Rio has a flow of foreigners living and traveling through that appreciate the chance to get together and share experiences and opportunities. The InterNations group has been providing such get-togethers with increasing success and, largely as a result of Vera Sardinha’s efforts, they have even added a second monthly event to the calendar.
8) Jan Roldanus
The film “Eden” brings Brazilian national recognition to British expatriate Jan Roldanus and his production company GreenGo Films. On October 5th their first feature film, which was selected for competition in Premiere Brasil and screened at the 2012 Rio International Film Festival, received the Best Actress award.
9) Tomer and Roni Kanarek
The expatriate owners of Laffa Kebab Store have not only established a thriving restaurant business in Rio with Ipanema and Leblon locations, they have created a brand ready to franchise. Brothers Roni and Tomer Kanarek relocated from Israel with this intention, and in August 2012 opened a Laffa Kebab in Barra Shopping, their first franchise location.
10) Andreas Wielend
A conflict between expatriates over land ownership in Rio’s Vidigal favela community closed the Casa Alto Vidigal guesthouse for awhile this year, but rumors are – not for much longer. Austrian transplant Andreas Wielend’s guesthouse is popular with Cariocas, expatriates and international tourists for the amazing views, and infamous for its weekend parties that often last until well after sunrise.