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UFRJ is Africa's Ambassador for Science – Conexão UFRJ

UFRJ is Africa's Ambassador for Science – Conexão UFRJ

Last Thursday, April 25, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) signed A Academic cooperation with the Association of African Universities (AAU). The partnership represents, at least in part, a process that seeks historical reparation between Brazil and African peoples through the exchange of science, technology and innovation (ST&I). “It is an opportunity for Brazil to learn about its history and itself,” said UFRJ International Relations Supervisor Baba Matar. The pioneering agreement on the Latin continent, which has been under construction since 2021, will promote technology transfer with more than 400 African universities.

The signing ceremony was attended by the Consul General of Angola in Brazil, Mateus de Sá Miranda Neto, the Secretary General of the Association of African Universities (AUA), Olusola Bandile Oyewole, and bodies associated with ethnic diversity in the university and federal funding agencies, such as CAPEs.

The agreement stipulates the development of joint research and the financing of studies and academic training to solve the problems facing Brazil and African countries in the areas of sustainability, food security, infrastructure, energy and public health. The document also states that the UFRJ is the headquarters of the African Science Embassy in Latin America. The Secretary-General of AUA, Nigerian Professor Olusola Oyewole, acknowledged the importance of strategic partnerships in the break with the colonial past. “Today, Africa is changing. We need change for development; quality education is the essential element of our future.”

According to Brigadier General Roberto Medronio, relations with the “Global South” are essential in the fight against social ills. “It is a great honor to contribute to the advancement of science, technology and higher education in Africa,” he said. The dean also highlighted the historical debt that Brazil owes to African countries due to the enslavement of black people. The director of the Center for Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous Studies (Parliamentary) also recalled the violent past. Last Tuesday, April 23, Portugal admitted the country's guilt for slavery and genocide during the colonial period. For Wallace, signing the agreement is a big step forward in Brazilian history. He stressed that it is “something worth entering into the history of this university.”

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In order to strengthen the fight against racism, the partnership is aligned with the actions of the General Authority for Affirmative Action, Diversity and Accessibility (Sgaada). “Our role is to create an anti-racist environment where everyone has a place at this university,” said Professor Denis Joyce, Superintendent of Sagada University. Dean of the Technology Center, Walter Suimitsu, commented on the importance of racial quotas for greater student equity and highlighted the need for more Black teachers at UFRJ.

Angolan Consul Mateus de Sa Miranda Neto highlighted the role of universities in searching for solutions to transform social well-being. To this end, the Director of the UFRJ Technology Park, Romildo Toledo Filho, emphasized the need to continuously promote the research. Representatives of the Coordination for the Improvement of Personnel in Higher Education (Capes) and the Funder of Studies and Projects (Finep) also attended the event and confirmed their commitment to cooperation between Brazilian and African universities. The ceremony also witnessed the participation of African students and a lecture on social inclusion and corporate responsibility.