Aurélio Vianna Jr. works in Ford's Rio de Janeiro office and has been engaged in environmental and development issues. His grant making has supported the efforts of traditional peoples—including rubber tappers, peasants, indigenous peoples, and rural Afrodescendants—to gain access to land, bolster the sustainable use of their natural resources, and participate in the policy-making process for land use planning and development in the Brazilian Amazon region.
Before joining the foundation in 2004, Aurélio worked on social, economic, and environmental issues in a variety of capacities, doing research, project management, and political activism. Over the past 25 years, he has served on the boards of numerous Brazilian nongovernmental organizations and as coordinator of the Brazil Network on Multilateral Financial Institutions, the Institute for Socioeconomic Studies, and the Amazon Studies Institute. In 2003, he was appointed director of Brazil's two major socioenvironmental programs: the Pilot Program to Conserve the Brazilian Rain Forest and the Amazon Region Protected Areas Program.
Aurélio has written numerous articles on peasants and politics in Brazil, the environment and the socioenvironmental effects of projects and policies financed by international institutions, and social movements and the environment. He holds a PhD in social anthropology from the National Museum (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro).