FOR THE GREATER GOOD
Brazil has always been a country of creativity and innovation, as exemplified by its modern capital of Brasília. Founded in 1960 and famed for its bold, contemporary architecture, the city is home to the University of Brasília (UnB) – a shining testament to Brazil’s vitality. Like its setting, the university is forward thinking, focusing on research for government departments and using its status as a public school to educate Brazil’s future public servants.
“In Brazil, government institutions play a central role in everything, and public universities are crucial,” says Professor Ivan Camargo, Rector of UnB. The university was established in 1962 and has since expanded its roster to include undergraduate studies in most academic arenas, while its postgraduate and PhD programmes continue to serve the nation. “Scientific research in various fields – including social sciences and humanities – are developed mainly by public universities,” says Professor Camargo. “It means that the University of Brasília is important in bringing new patterns of learning and researching science to Brazil.”
Challenges such as climate change and the development of unconventional energy sources are addressed at the university, and have motivated interdisciplinary research at undergraduate and postgraduate level. “Further issues, such as mass public transportation, encourage the tackling of problems that are strongly associated to local needs,” says Professor Camargo.
This focus on contemporary subjects and relevant studies means that UnB graduates have a good employment rate. Furthermore, as a public institution with no tuition fees, the university’s students are not dependent on hefty student loans to afford their education. UnB ensures that a full university experience and diverse choice of studies is available, and welcomes foreign students to study in Brazil.
“Brazil’s educational authorities came to the realisation that internationalisation is key for learning, as well as for applying science in any field,” says Professor Camargo. “To this end, the PEC-G programme was devised for students from developing countries to attend a full undergraduate degree. For those benefiting from the programme, the experience of studying in Brasília has been important for their future professional prospects.”
As it looks beyond its borders to the world beyond, UnB’s continuing development means that this relatively young institution is perfectly placed to expand and inspire – just like its vibrant motherland.