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8th International Symposium on Justice Highlights German-Brazilian Relations

(27.09.18) Between 10 and 14 September, the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) in Florianópolis played host to the 8th International Symposium on Justice: Globalisation, Multiculturalism, and Human Rights. The event was supplemented by a Humboldt Kolleg on human rights – an initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation designed to promote interdisciplinary networking among researchers. Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the event offered a forum for critical examination of the document adopted in 1948 with respect to South America today and its consequences for Brazilian society in particular.

Ingo Sarlet (right) calls for the establishment of a DFG/CAPES funding programme in law

Ingo Sarlet (right) calls for the establishment of a DFG/CAPES funding programme in law

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The symposium has been organised every three years since 1997 by UFSC and the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), and focuses on topics relating to justice and political philosophy in an international context. The participation of experts from a range of disciplines, such as philosophy, law, sociology and political science, promotes a productive sharing of ideas between researchers from Brazil and other countries. This year, scholars from Germany were especially well represented – and the congress was supported by the German House for Research and Innovation (DWIH) São Paulo.

As well as presentations and discussions on different aspects of justice and human rights, the programme included an information event on research funding and opportunities for collaboration with international partners. Representatives of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, DWIH and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) presented their funding portfolios.

In a presentation entitled “Human Dignity in the Brazilian Constitution”, Prof. Ingo Sarlet, coordinator of the Faculty of Law at PUCRS, emphasised the close relationship between Brazilian and German jurisprudence. Among other things, these connections serve as a starting point for deepening academic relations in the study of law between Germany and Brazil, a process encouraged by bilateral workshops jointly funded by the DFG and its Brazilian partner organisation CAPES with the goal of initiating medium- and long-term project-based collaborations.

A first step in this direction was taken with an initial roundtable discussion in Germany in June 2017, to which 14 representatives of important law faculties were invited. This was followed by a workshop last April in Bonn, which was partly funded by CAPES. and brought together nine jurists from each country. The conclusion was that the good bilateral relations that exist in this area, at both institutional and personal level, hold significant potential for the planned establishment of a joint funding programme for German-Brazilian projects in the field of law.