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2014 agenda foresees discussion of historical, institutional and strategic issues

by Richard Meckien - published Dec 19, 2013 05:10 PM - - last modified Nov 03, 2015 04:57 PM

The preliminary schedule for 2014 has already been set. Highlights include analyzes of historical events that marked Brazil and the world in the 20th century, the debate on strategic issues for the country and reflection on institutional issues linked to the IEA-USP and USP, and the development of scientific cooperation projects with international institutions.

Two important facts will receive special attention from historians and other Brazilian and foreign intellectuals in 2014: the centenary of the First World War outbreak and the 50th anniversary of the military coup in Brazil. Both issues will be addressed by the IEA: the first one in partnership with the Chair von Martius for German and European Studies and USP’s Institute of International Relations (IRI), and the second one through a special dossier in issue 80 of the “Estudos Avançados” journal, to be released in April, and a debate promoted by the UNESCO Chair on Education for Peace, Human Rights, Democracy and Tolerance.

The analysis of the impacts of these facts is essential to the understanding of Brazilian and world history in the 20th century, but not less important are the activities scheduled to discuss dilemmas of the present and prospects for the coming decades in several areas.

Two initiatives will deal specifically with institutional aspects of USP and the IEA. One of them is the University Governance and Culture of Excellence programme proposed by former rector of USP and former director of the IEA Jacques Marcovitch. It will be a study on ten universities from ten different countries to which it is worth comparing USP.

1ª Reunião do Grupo de Conjuntura InstitucionalThe other initiative is the creation of the Group for Institutional Situation to debate the most relevant aspects of academic and management policies of the university and the IEA. The first meeting of the group took place on November 19 with the participation of members and former members of IEA’s board and research groups of the institute. At the time, they gathered to discuss the effects of the invasion and occupation by students of USP's administrative complex where the IEA is located.

A series of discussions organized by IEA’s Direction and visiting professor Bernardo Sorj will deal with the production of meaning in the current sociocultural context, which transfers a constant decision-making process to the individual in an environment where he or she confronts multiple values, many of which are contradictory. The series is entitled ‘Em Busca do Sentido Perdido: Diálogos Interdisciplinares sobre Ciência e Transcendência’ (‘In Search of Lost Sense: Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Science and Transcendence’) and foresees five meetings to be hold throughout the year: ‘A Ciência e o Politeísmo de Valores’ (‘Science and the Polytheism of Values’), ‘O Indivíduo no Ocidente’ (‘The Individual in the West’), ‘O Ser Humano e a Natureza‘ (‘The Human Being and Nature’), ‘O Ser Humano e a Técnica’ (‘The Human Being and Technique’) and ‘O Lugar das Artes na Produção de Sentido’ (‘The Place of the Arts in the Production of Meaning’).

The issue of Brazilian industrial competitiveness, a sensitive topic to economic performance and development of the country, will be discussed in a cycle with a still undefined format. The proposal was brought up by IEA’s board in 2013 and will be coordinated by advisors Roberto Mendonça Faria, from IEA’s hub in São Carlos, and Guilherme Ary Plonski, from USP’s Polytechnic School (POLI) and the Faculty of Economics, Business and Accounting (FEA).

Noam Chomsky - conferência no IEA em 1996Two initiatives involve partnerships with foreign IASs, both of them members of the University-based Institute for Advanced Study network (UBIAS). Together with the Institute for Advanced Research (IAR) of the University of Nagoya, Japan, the IEA-USP will start the Intercontinental Academy project, which will bring together around 15 young researchers from different areas of knowledge and universities to a collaborative and interdisciplinary study, under the guidance of three senior scientists, with workshops in São Paulo and Nagoya in 2015. The laboratory ‘Interdisciplinary Approaches for Global Challenges: Transatlantic Dialogues’ will be a partnership between the IEA-USP and the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Advanced Studies. The project will bring together British and Brazilian experts in studies to identify possible solutions for the challenges that cities and their residents will face in the coming decades.

Still in the international context, this summary of the agenda could not fail to highlight the possible presence of the renowned linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who has been invited to give a conference at the IEA in April. It could be the second visit of Chomsky. He participated in the celebrations of the institute’s 10th anniversary in 1996. Back then, he gave two conferences, one on Linguistics and another one on the application of the Washington Consensus in developing countries, published in issue 29 of ‘Estudos Avançados’.

The main scheduled activities for 2014 set by research groups, chairs, visiting professors and the journal are listed below.

RESEARCH GROUPS

Amazon Transformation: History and Perspectives - Coordinator: Maritta Koch-Weser

In 2014 the group will continue to establish contacts with a view to developing the project of creating the Rainforest Continent Business School. The project schedule includes visits to the state of Amapá, after invitation by the state government, to the BNDES (national bank for development) in Rio de Janeiro, and to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, after invitation by Charles Noble, Secretary of Policy and Programmes for Research and Development at the ministry. The group will also continue the discussions originated in the meeting sponsored by FAPESP in North Carolina, as well as arrange meetings for the scientific committee and the work group of the project.

Nuclear Astrophysics - Coordinator: Mahir Saleh Hussein

From April 14 to 16, the group will promote the ‘Neutrino and Nuclear Astrophysics Workshop’, with the participation of group members and guests. From the group, the participants will be Pierre Descouvemont (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium), Carlos A. Bertulani (Texas A&M University-Commerce, USA), Leandro Gasques (USP’s Institute of Physics - IF), Elcio Abdalla (IF), Michael Wiescher (University of Notre Dame, USA) and Ani Aprahamian (University of Notre Dame, USA). The guests will be Akif Baha Balantekin (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA), Alexis Day-Torres (Università di Trento , Italy) and Beatriz Barbuy (USP's Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences - IAG).

Logic and Theory of Science - Coordinator: Jair Minoro Abe

The group will hold another edition of the ‘Intelligent Computing Systems Workshop’, in addition to continuing with monthly seminars on paraconsistent annotated logic in Biomedicine, Robotics and Automation at USP’s Faculty of Medicine Oscar Freire Institute.

Quality of Democracy - Coordinator: José Álvaro Moisés

In February, the group will host Mino Vianello, from the Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy, who will give a lecture on Gender, Power and Quality of Democracy. In the second semester, an international seminar on Access to Justice, Public Security and Quality of Democracy will be hold in partnership with the University of North Carolina, USA. The group will continue to organize events on research topics and books of some of their participants, and to publish texts at www.qualidadedademocracia.com.br. Another activity that will continue in the website is the series of interviews ‘A Qualidade da Democracia em Questão’, which has already set several personalities to be interviewed 2014: Mino Vianello, Francisco Weffort, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Celso Lafer, Bolívar Lamounier and Simão Schwartzman.

Intercultural Dialogues - Coordinator: Sylvia Dantas

The group plans to hold a series of conferences on ‘Challenges of Multiculturalism: Reality and Perspectives’. The goal is to initiate dialogues in the interdisciplinary field of pursuit of dialogue, expansion and articulation of outbreaks, contextualizing and strategies that enable greater rapprochement regarding the complexity of the factors that result from the contact between cultures and the dynamics of increasing intercultural contact, addressing ethnic minorities in the university and among exchange students, migrants, refugees and descendants, and mobility and internationalization of Brazilian universities.

Public Policies, Territoriality and Society - Coordinator: Neli Aparecida de Mello-Théry

The group will hold two international workshops in 2014: ‘Environment and Geomatics: Compared Studies France-Brazil’ in November 12-15 in Rennes, France, and ‘Climate Change, Energy Planning and Public Policy’, in partnership with the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) in October.

Philosophy, History, and Sociology of Science and Technology - Coordinator: Pablo Rubén Mariconda

In 2014 the group will continue the activities of the FAPESP’s Thematic Project ‘Genesis and Meaning of Technoscience: the Relations between Science, Technology and Society’. Four seminars are already planned: ‘Humans and Animals: the Limits of Humanity’, under the coordination of Lorenzo Baravalle (UFABC) and Pablo Mariconda (IEA-USP); ‘Climate Change, Climate Panels and Economic Growth Model’, with six to eight meetings and coordination of Jose Correa Leite (IEA-USP) and Marcos Barbosa de Oliveira (IEA-USP); ‘Sustainable Forest Management and Stakeholder Values in the Relationship between Scientific Knowledge and Traditional Knowledge: the Value of Cooperation and Competition System’, with four to six meetings and coordination of Ana Teresa Reis da Silva (IEA-USP) and Pablo Mariconda (IEA-USP); and ‘Style of Scientific Thought’, having as coordinators Valter Alnis Bezerra (IEA-USP) and Otávio Bueno (University of Miami, USA). From March 10 to April 9, the group will host Helen Jerônimo, from the University of Lisbon, Portugal , who will give four conferences on Technological Risks: ‘Questioning Concepts of Risk and Uncertainty Regarding Issues of Scientific and Technological Base’, ‘The Scientific Examination: Specificities of Knowledge and Action’, ’When uncertainties are reduced to Risks: The Controversy Around the Hazardous Wastes in Portugal’ and ‘The Continuing Catastrophe: The Fukushima Accident and the uncertainties of Nuclear Power Plants’.

Environment and Society - Coordinator: Peter Jacobi

The group has proposed the following research topics for 2014: ‘Solid Waste’ (in March) - discussions on the need to oppose the incineration responses; ‘Water Governance and Transparency’ - presentation of research results; ‘Environment and the Frontiers of Knowledge’ - interdisciplinary debates; ‘Environment and Post-Normal Science’ (in May) - visit of a researcher of the Dutch Environment Agency; ‘Climate Change’ - monitoring of the situation on controversial topics in Brazilian environment policy; ‘Innovation in Environmental Governance’ - various themes regarding government, productive sector and society; and meetings with authors of books on environmental issues.

Nutrition and Poverty - Coordinator: Ana Lydia Sawaya

In 2014 the group will focus on the inclusion of content in their section on IEA's website. Another guideline is to deepen activities in partnerships with public bodies, in particular with São Paulo City Hall, whose first lady Ana Estela Haddad joined the group. Ana Estela is a professor of USP’s School of Dentistry and coordinator of the City Hall’s Early Childhood Policy. She has launched the ‘Cidade Carinhosa’ programme, aimed at children up to 6 years old.

Innovation and Competitiveness Observatory – Coordinator: Mario Salerno

The activities that have already been planned by the group are the preparation of a new edition of the EngenhariaData report, and the planning and execution of the ‘Trajetória’ project, which aims to recover and systematize information on the trajectory of engineers in the labor market, from studying to current activities. Four events are intended to be hold: the release of the EngenhariaData report and the launch of a new website; a seminar on public and private funding for the productive sector and innovation; a seminar on evaluation criteria in bidding for funding; and a seminar with the new Provost for Research on management project.

CHAIRS

UNESCO Chair on Education for Peace, Human Rights, Democracy and Tolerance

Throughout the year, the chair will hold the ‘City of Human Rights’ project in partnership with USP’s Maria Antonia Center. The project has been given a fund of R$ 180.000,00 after approval by the Provost for Culture and University Extension. In addition, the chair will hold discussions on three topics: Memory and Democracy, the 50th Anniversary of the Military Coup in Brazil, and Dignity and Intolerance.

Bernardo O'Higgins Chair

The chair, newly restructured, has already scheduled a workshop on Memory, Society and Culture to be organized by the IEA-USP and the Center for Social Sciences of the Universidad de la Frontera (UFRO), Chilean partner of USP in the agreement of the chair.

VISITING PROFESSORS

Massimo Canevacci, from the Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy, will continue his project ‘Self-representation’.

Hugh Lacey, professor emeritus from Swarthmore College, USA, will work on the conclusion of the dossier ‘Technoscience’ and the Model of Interaction between Science and Values​​.

Bernardo Sorj will continue his research project ‘Middle East Conflict: Scope and Limits of Brazilian External Politics’ and will coordinate, together with the direction of the institute, the series of debates ‘Em Busca do Sentido Perdido: Diálogos Interdisciplinares sobre Ciência e Transcendência’ (‘In Search of Lost Sense: Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Science and Transcendence’).

‘ESTUDOS AVANÇADOS’ JOURNAL

In March, the launch event of issue 79 will take place. Its main dossier with be on public transport. In April, issue 80 will be released with a dossier on the 50th anniversary of the military coup in Brazil.