CODES Partners: The University of Coimbra

Following our first article dedicated to the University of Bucharest, this week we will present the University of Coimbra (UC). UC is the first historic university of Portugal, founded over 700 years ago…  today the university is committed to the cause of cultural diversity.

Previously situated in Lisbon, the University of Coimbra definitely transferred to the heart of Coimbra in 1537. Even during this period, the university offered scholarships to study abroad!

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A UNESCO world heritage site, UC is home today to 3 campuses and 3,000 employees. Each year the university welcomes 25,000 students,  16% of which are international students.

Up to 90 different nationalities are represented!

UC’s commitment to cultural diversity

Through its courses research topics dedicated to society’s wellbeing, UC promotes human, artistic, and scientific studies. They offer numerous courses centered around multiculturalism, specifically regarding speaking multiple languages, gender, ethnicity, post-colonial studies, sociocultural mediation and globalization.

UC wishes to participate in the sustainable development of their country and Europe through cooperation and multicultural interactions. Throughout the crisis regarding the welcoming of immigrants, they have developped many resources to respond to urgent needs: cultural and language courses, educational recognition (degree equivalences), access to specific selected exams, medical and meal interventions, etc.

Additionally, the Center for Social Studies has based part of its research on immigrant biographies and experiences, thanks to workshops put in place for the occasion.

Finally, in 1985 the Coimbra group is formed which unites universities from around the world. The programme encourage collaborative research, partnerships with private companies, and scientific and technical cultural exchanges.

UC as a CODES Programme Partner

João Maria Bernardo Ascenso André is a professor in the department of History, Arts, and Archeology at the University of Coimbra. Among his many publications include 3 works wholly dedicated to multiculturalism and intercultural dialogues:

  • Ecumenismo, Multiculturalismo e Educação Intercultural  (Publicações Terraço, 2003),
  • Diálogo intercultural, utopia e mestiçagens em tempos de globalização (Ariadne, 2005),
  • Multiculturalidade, identidades e mestiçagem: o diálogo intercultural nas ideias, na política, nas artes e na religião (Palimage, 2012).

In addition, his experience as a theatre director guided him to tackle essential questions in cultural diversity through play productions. The theatre is a “political instrument”, as the work created by his anthropology of theatre class brilliantly explains.

With such a multicultural focus, it is not surprisingly that UC responded so enthusiastically to the opportunity to participate in the conception of the CODES Programme!

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