In the splendid framework of a classroom at the University of Coimbra, Carmen Azaustre, coordinator of the permanent commission, introduced the conference. This year is the 40th anniversary of this group activity that has tried to respond with its reflection to the challenges posed by the university contexts in which the group work.
The first speaker, Professor Manuel Carlos Lopes Porto, a professor at the University of Coimbra and a master’s degree at Oxford, dedicated his lecture to the topic “Portugal today”. He recalled that the beginning of the 60s was a crucial moment for Portugal. The events during this period were the basis for an important development that led to significant changes in Portuguese politics and the economic life of the mid-1970s.
During this period there was the consolidation of two parties, the communist and the socialist. Today there is political stability and is considered one of the most peaceful countries in the world (in 5th place). In 1986 Portugal joined the European Union.
The problems facing Portugal today are: the demographic decrease; low competitiveness; the efforts in Spain-Portugal cooperation to face the growth of other countries.
Plurality of values
On the second day, Professor María Manuela Tavares, a professor at the University of Coimbra, presented the topic “Democracy, citizenship, plurality of values in Europe”. She pointed that it is not enough for a citizen to have his rights recognized. After World War II there was a debate in the name of democracy, but democracies were missing, she said. And civic education is not enough for the formation of a citizen. We can talk about individual, social, political freedom. Amin Maalouf affirms that freedom is a permanent fight.
According to Professor Tavares, verbal communication learning is the first learning of freedom, because language is a mean of communication and expression of thought, it is the key to humanity. The democratic values that can refer to Europe are: freedom, fraternity, equality, solidarity, cooperation and humanism. Jacques Maritain speaks of civic friendship.
Beatriz Núñez, PhD in Education and professor at the University of Burgos, presented the European project EURODDIP-e (co-financed by ERASMUS +), which aims to promote learning from capacity detection and interdisciplinary work, in which take part nine engineers from the University of Burgos. The objective is to contribute to the educational inclusion of children with disabilities, training professionals. Entities from Italy, Portugal, Belgium and Spain collaborate.
Professor Josefina Cuesta, Emeritus Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Salamanca, presented the topic “Globalization processes and women's education. An urgency. "
He affirmed that education has been a secular demand of women because since the mists of time weighed on women (Eva) a prohibition of knowing. In the Middle Ages there is a feminine self-teaching, with access to books and writing. In Contemporary period, educational demands and revolutionary political militancy come together.
In the nineteenth century girls are educated in the private sphere. The big leap occurs when women want to go into public fields and are denied. They justify this step with the language of continuity: the transition between mother and teacher. In 1910, the woman enters the University, in 1914 the female university residence of the Teresian Association is opened in Madrid and in 1915 the Residence of Young Ladies of the Institución Libre de Enseñanza.
Today we are in the IV industrial revolution and the era of globalization. The consequences are: changes in the relationship between education and employment; changes in the role of the State; new forms of education management; the logic of globalization imposes skilled labor; consequences on brain drain; processes of commodification of education; trends towards cultural globalization and its consequences in the linguistic field.
All this academic activity was intermingled with visits with guides to the most relevant of the Portuguese city: visit to the University and the Museum of Science; Botanical Garden, Major Seminary and the ancient Roman city of Conimbriga; Monastery of Santa Clara la Vieja and la Nueva.
The key for each day was marked by the Eucharist celebrated in the morning by Juan Jesus Bastero. On the last day, a farewell dinner was held in which a tribute was made to the commission that has lead the the group for seven years, they were offered a silver pendant that represented a world map. We received the new commission formed by Magdalena Alcover, Guillermina Damas, Laura Moreno, Raquel Pérez and Irene Pinacho. The end of the dinner was enlivened by a group of singers who performed Coimbra’s fados, very different from those traditionally known.
Text: Nieves San Martín