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  • Foto do escritorArnon Melo

A Recognition on Par with Social Causes

Entrepreneur Arnon Melo's message to the Brazilian community after winning the Order of Rio

Branco - the highest federal government decoration awarded to a Brazilian citizen.

By Jandy Sales | March 1, 2022

Arnon Melo, with the insignia of the Order of Rio Branco on his chest, next to the Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Ambassador Carlos Alberto França, during the award ceremony.
Photo: Ricardo Oliveira

An email received on November 26, 2021, from the secretary of the Order of Rio Branco, Alan Coelho de Séllos, left the president of MELLOHAWK Logistics, Arnon Gastaldello Melo, quite surprised and confused.

In the email, the Itamaraty Palace announced that the Brazilian Canadian born in Taquarituba, in the interior of São Paulo, had been admitted to the rank of Officer of the Order of Rio Branco. "I thought it was fake news or a scam, spam or a joke." said Melo.

But everything was soon clarified after Arnon Melo phoned the Consulate General of Brazil in

Toronto. And once again he was taken by surprise. The award of the Order of Rio Branco was

the result of a recommendation made by Ambassador Wanja Campos da Nóbrega.

According to Melo, the ambassador had drawn up a report on his actions aimed at the Brazilian

community in Toronto. The document sent to Itamaraty also mentioned the businessman's

work as an elected member of the Brazilian Citizenship Council of Ontario (CONCID).

Businessman Arnon Melo next to Ambassador Wanja Campos da Nóbrega, from the Consulate

General of Brazil in Toronto. Photo: Peter Hawkins

Brazilian Citizenship Council of Ontario (CONCID) Team - 2019-21 Management

Photo: Fernanda Vicentin


Another of Melo's great humanitarian actions that deserved a mention in the ambassador's document took place during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

In June 2020, Melo and his CONCID team rolled up their sleeves to help 600 Brazilians return home to prevent them from suffering the consequences of the pandemic far from their families.

According to Melo, the repatriation effort was the result of a joint effort between CONCID and the Brazilian consulates in Toronto and Brazilian Embassy in Ottawa. "It's been an intense few months in which we've received several requests for help from Brazilians across Canada."; he said.

CONCID members at Toronto airport on June 25, 2020. Photo: Peter Hawkins.

Surprised by the pandemic, around 600 Brazilians returned to Brazil in 2020, thanks to the efforts of Arnon Melo and the CONCID team.


The challenge of moving around the Portuguese and English-speaking Canadian world is often a barrier for many Brazilian immigrants. In Arnon Melo's case, this problem never seemed to exist.

With a polished tone of voice and engaging dialog, Melo moves around Canada's multicultural world with ease and makes his jacket and tie his work uniform.

The elegant 'uniform' is Arnon Melo's calling card inside and outside the four walls of the MELLOHAWK Logistics office.


Melo's active participation in the Brazilian community is diverse. His diplomacy can be witnessed on many different occasions.

In April 2018, Melo hosted a ceremony that brought together potential entrepreneurs. The event, organized by CONCID, turned the lobby of Toronto City Hall into a showcase for business.

CONCID event at Toronto City Hall
in April 2018. Photo: Fernanda Vicentin

Melo has also made use of hate speech in these times of political polarization. His message of peace came during a protest by Brazilians on September 7, 2019. At the time, hundreds of Brazilians gathered outside Nathan Phillips Square to protest the Brazilian federal government's alleged disregard for the burning of the Amazon rainforest.

Amid the effervescence of the demonstrators speeches, Melo used the microphone to give a message: " We are not going to accept that hate speech is present in our community", he emphasized, who, moments before, had participated - just a few meters from the demonstration, in the solemn raising of the Brazilian flag in front of Toronto City Hall.


Arnon Melo found space in his schedule to talk to Discover Magazine about the significance of the Order of Rio Branco for him. The award can be considered the most important event in Melo's life and - why not say it - for the entire Brazilian community in Canada.

Arnon Melo received the insignia of the Order of Rio Branco during a ceremony in Brasilia
alongside his business partner, Peter Hawkins, and his sister, Dr. Adriana Melo.
Photo: Ricardo Oliveira

Discover Magazine - What did you know about the Order of Rio Branco before you were

awarded the insignia?

Arnon Melo – I didn't know anything about the Order of Rio Branco. When I read about it, I was

moved by what the Order represents. The Latin expression, "Ubique Patriae Memor", was taken from the Baron of Rio Branco's ex-libris and translates as, "Wherever I am, I will always have the Homeland in my memory". It represents what I've always thought as a Brazilian living in Canada because I chose Canada as the country to live in, but I've never forgotten my origins, where I come from, and, above all, the love I feel for Brazil.

DM – What was it like helping Brazilians return to Brazil during the Covid-19 crisis?

AM – It felt amazing and rewarding helping my fellow Brazilians return home. Because of the lack of flights to Brazil, many Brazilian families were 'trapped'; in Canada and a situation of extreme need because they no longer had the resources, food, or shelter to stay in the country.

Our work, starting in March 2020 when we learned that many Brazilians were in need, only ended in June when the flights took place.

DM – What motivates you most to divide the task of being an entrepreneur with that of the

social cause?

AM - I always like to say that I love my profession and I'm deeply grateful for everything I've built with my partner Peter Hawkins. We set up MELLOHAWK Logistics together and this year our partnership as a company turns 20 years old. It was by being an entrepreneur that I learned to give my time not only to my clients but also to people who asked for advice about a professional career or how to start their own business. I've always volunteered at Seneca, the college where I graduated because I think it's important to share our career and experience to help others.

DM – Your award of the Order of Rio Branco could inspire other Brazilians in Canada to embrace the idea of volunteering. Do you consider the Brazilian community, specifically in Toronto, to be engaged in social action?

AM – I hope that my award will inspire other Brazilians and Canadians to embrace volunteering.

I hope that everyone who does volunteer work does so, above all, out of love and dedication to others. I do believe that the Brazilian community is engaged in social action. Today I see several well-structured groups that bring information and help to the community. Every day I see a stronger unity in our community and that makes me happy. I think the role of volunteering is fundamental, as it allows us to get to know different people, professions, and situations. Canada sees volunteering as fundamental in the training of a professional.

DM – As an executive and a citizen, how have you coped with the pandemic?

AM – As an executive, the pandemic has brought several challenges for our company and our clients. We've been working hard to meet our client's needs due to the global supply chain crisis. Despite everything, these have been two very productive years of growth, which have been a great learning experience for all of us. As a citizen, I have dedicated myself even more to my volunteer work and trying to support everyone around me.

DM – What do you expect from 2022?

AM I hope that 2022 will be the beginning of the end of the pandemic. May it be a year that brings transformation and positive change to Canada and Brazil. May we continue to talk about diversity and inclusion and have more respect for all minorities and groups that suffer prejudice not only in Canada but especially in Brazil. May we love and respect each other more and more.


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