What would happen if the research with the greatest academic impact embraced a firm commitment to defending a life of dignity for current and future generations? What would life be like if technologies, technologies and knowledge were always compatible with mutual respect, shared responsibility and overcoming inequality?
Many probably immediately remembered the potential of applied research, such as that which has allowed effective vaccines against COVID-19 to be developed at an unprecedented speed, in the face of the unprecedented pandemic that has affected us all. Others may recall the many studies looking at biodiversity, agroecology, or renewable energies for new answers to improve our relationship with the planet without compromising its very existence.
The list of research committed to life can be long, covering areas such as biochemistry, molecular biology, public, environmental, and occupational health. It can also access other areas of applied research, such as engineering, architecture, and demography, for example, with basic public policy data. Or it could be in so-called basic research, such as physics and space science, with strict environmental monitoring.
All of them align, in an innovative and fundamental way, between science and human rights, understood in their current and deepest sense, considering human existence as something inseparable from all other existences on this planet.
If we had to ask about research on human rights today, the list could refer to fields such as law, anthropology, philosophy, and education, and mention their historical connections with studies on individual rights and on respect for different lifestyles. in communities. The list will undoubtedly be correct. However, it is incomplete because it does not think about the multiplicity of fields of knowledge capable of bringing science, human rights, research, a decent life, the arts, and recognition of the importance of the other.
However, human rights also refer to contact with the arts, magic of spirits, self-care, or self-nurturing, in the sense of forming rights and recognizing the rights of the other and in the formation of communities.
Among the many studies with this profile that have been developed in the State of São Paulo, the one by Marcelo W.B. Furlán Alves, PhD in Production Engineering from Unesp/Bauru (São Paulo State University), has recently received recognition. The researcher sought to understand and measure the dual relationship between human development and climate change adaptation and mitigation practices to build a global index of climate justice. Through structural equation modeling and data envelope analysis, he created the new “HDI.” [Índice de Desenvolvimento Humano]Climate Justice Index.
This research was awarded in the first edition of the “Unicamp-Vladimir Herzog Institute for Human Rights Academic Recognition Award” and is now in its third edition. The award includes academic research conducted in public research institutions in the State of São Paulo in all areas of knowledge that contribute to the protection and defense of the right to life, human dignity and social justice and that are exemplary for the defense of freedom. And the responsibility of science for the good of humanity.
It is not new that the state of São Paulo is responsible for most of the academic output in the country. It is also known that the institutions in the country have the best R&D structures in Latin America. In a country where 90% of research is done in public institutions, São Paulo is the most productive and influential. Given this, the transformative potential pursued by the award is enormous and gains even more value in the current context.
The partnership between Unicamp and the Vladimir Herzog Institute, an organization with a critical role in the defense of democracy, human rights and freedom of expression, expects nothing less than the science of impact from this: that it actively promotes the dignity of life in all forms of its existence.
This is a gradual process, but with a clear direction: a dignified life.
Antonio José de Almeida Meirelles is the Rector of Unicamp.
Josiane Cerasolli is the Chair of the Organizing Committee for the third PRADH.
Hamilton Harley is Executive Coordinator of the Department of Human Rights Education at the Vladimir Herzog Institute.
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