U.S. Consul General meets Rector to discuss partnerships for the construction of the indigenous student residence

08/12/2022 12:08

On 5 December, members of the Central Administration had a meeting with the Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Porto Alegre, Shane Christensen, and the Cultural Attaché, Beata Angelica, at the Rector´s Office. The meeting aimed at discussing the resource feasibility for the implementation of the indigenous student residence project at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianópolis Campus.

In addition to the Rector Irineu Manoel de Souza and the vice-rector Joana Célia dos Passos, the meeting was also attended by the Prorector for Affirmative Action and Equity (Proafe), Leslie Sedrez Chaves, the Director of the Rector´s Office, João Luiz Martins, and the International Programs Coordinator at the Office of International Relations (Sinter), Guilherme Carlos da Costa.

They discussed possibilities of cooperation to promote economy, social inclusion, education and culture in the state of Santa Catarina, specially the implementation of actions that allow for the consolidation of the residence for the students from the “Ocupação Maloca”.

“We are prioritizing the diversity and social inclusion, equity and accessibility, because our democracies are facing a high risk due to inequality and social exclusion” stated Shane when highlighting that the American government representatives in Brazil seek to promote partnerships with American companies from the private sector to offer support.

De Souza pointed out that the University’s current administration has social inclusion as one of its main priorities and the lack of housing for indigenous people is a big problem at the university.  “In the last few years, the University has been receiving people who are being neglected by the State policies. The fact that they are admitted to the university does not guarantee their retention and successful completion of their program.  Nowadays, our main concern is to ensure the retention of the students who are facing new challenges every single day in this country”, said the vice-rector, Joana, recollecting the 150 days of this administration and the actions taken regarding the theme.

The U.S diplomats proposed to have representatives of UFSC indigenous students to join the group of young leaders promoted by the State Department of the United States. Moreover, they discussed organizing events and seminars involving the academic community in order to show them the mobility programs and opportunities available in American companies.

The Prorector for Affirmative Actions and Equity, Leslie Sedrez Chaves, reinforced the importance of having a close relationship with the United States, which is a strong country in the fight for the Civil Rights. “We are following the United States footsteps regarding affirmative actions adapted to the Brazilian reality. Recently we had the Policy for Confronting Institutional Racism approved in the institution, which shows that we have clear guidelines towards equity promotion actions.”


Indigenous students hand in the Residence Project to the U.S. Consul General

At the end of the meeting, a group of indigenous students along with their leaders presented themselves at the Rector´s Office to hand in the architectural project of the Residence. The project was designed in partnership with the Department of Architecture and Urbanism of UFSC.

Thairaa Priprá, a psychology student, who is a member of the movement “Ocupação Maloca UFSC”, emphasized that indigenous students’ struggle for housing has been happening since 2016. “Every piece of this project was designed jointly with the students of the ‘Ocupação Maloca’. We have been working for five years and today we seek partnerships to make this project feasible, because UFSC also has a lot to gain with it,” she said.

Brasílio Priprá, the representative of the Xokleng people, mentioned in his speech that the diversity of indigenous peoples at UFSC makes the institution a transparent and inclusive place. “The indigenous peoples protect the environment and the U.S. has supported the Brazilian people. Therefore, we ask you to help us: help the students build the ‘Maloca’ again”, he said.

The representative of the U.S Consulate General in Brazil has been able to create connections and strengthen bonds between peoples. The Cultural Attaché, Beata Angélica, emphasized the strength of the indigenous peoples and asked the students not to give up on completing their studies. “Remain in the university and complete your degrees, because this is a great opportunity for your lives. We are here to open doors for collaboration, we want to support you in the fight for equality and this is the role of the diplomatic contribution”.


Translated by SINTER/UFSC.

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