“Today marks a major milestone in the history of the University of Helsinki. For the first time in our 379 years as a university we are formally recognised by a foreign country, namely Brazil. Being awarded the Insignia of the Order of Rio Branco is a true honor and a great privilege for the University. We attach great importance to international academic collaboration, both in research and in education”, Rector Jari Niemelä said in his speech.
The scientific cooperation between the University of Helsinki and Brazil stands on solid ground, and goes back 90 years in time.
“The mobility of researchers and subsequently students and other forms of co-operation between the University of Helsinki and Brazilian counterparts have been active and vibrant. We are also immensely grateful to the Brazilian Embassy and the Brazil-Finland Cultural Centre for their role in supporting the teaching of Brazilian Portuguese at our Faculty of Arts", Rector Niemelä concluded.
Many researches have contributed to the active cooperation on an individual level.
Professor Martti Pärssinen from the Department of Cultures has together with Professor Alceu Ranz and the late Professor Denise Schaan led a Finnish-Brazilian research group, which defined the existence of a hitherto unknown civilization in the state of Acre in the Amazonas.
The civilization was at its peak between the years 250-950 centuries AD. The inhabitants built geometrically formed ceremonial centres, united by the oldest known road system in South America. At the moment the Brazilian government is proposing the ceremonial centres be included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Professor Pekka Posio from the Department of Languages points out that there has been a lot of linguistic cooperation in education. The Embassy of Brazil has annually during 10 years sent 2-3 teachers to the university.
Professor Teivo Teivainen from the World Politics Department,
is an expert in Latin American Politics, and published his book Brazil, about contemporary Brazilian politics in 2016.
Professor Eero Tarasti, who is a well-known musicologist and semiologist, and an expert on the work of Heitor Villa-Lobos. Professor Tarasti was awarded the Officer degree of the Order of the Rio Branco in the year 2000.
On an institutional level, the University has since 2007 carried out research projects with University of São Paulo (USP), University of the State of São Paulo (UNESP) and Catholic Pontifical University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RJ).