Last wwu.usp workshop "Cities, Climate and Social (In)Equality"
On 23 and 24 September, the Brazil Centre promoted the last workshop of the Strategic Partnership Project wwu.usp, whose funding by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) ends this year. Under the thematic leadership and moderation of Prof. Dr. Sabine Schlacke, Managing Director of the Institute for Environment and Planning Law (iup) at Münster University (WWU), the event, which was originally planned to take place in May 2021 in São Paulo, was held very successfully online with the support of Prof. Dr. Luciana Oliveira de Royer and Prof. Dr. Luís Fernando Massonetto from the University of São Paulo (USP).
Due to the utter interdisciplinary composition of the programme, the workshop was held on "Cities, Climate and Social (In)Equality", as an extension of the focus topic of the second funding phase "Cities and Climate" of the project, since "The disciplines alone are not enough, they must communicate with each other", as pointed out by Prof. Dr. Samuel Mössner in his keynote lecture. Moreover, this thematic broadening by inserting the aspect of "social inequalities" made it possible, on the one hand, to include other PhD candidates with other research focuses and, on the other, the consideration of a fundamental aspect in the discussions on the topic of “Cities and Climate”, as summed up by Julia Moretti, USP PhD candidate: "The concept of vulnerability is central to address climate change".
The workshop was opened by the Pro-Rector for Internationalization and Knowledge Transfer of the WWU, Prof. Dr. Quante, who, among other things, emphasised the importance of the wwu.usp project for deepening the cooperation between WWU and USP, followed by Prof. Dr. Marcio Lobo Netto, Vice-Provost and Associate Director for Mobility at AUCANI-USP and by Prof. Dr. -Ing. Bernd Hellingrath, wwu.usp project leader and scientific director of the Brazil Centre, who also underlined the great importance of the cooperation between the two universities and the essential role of the wwu.usp project.
On the recommendation of Prof. Dr. Schlacke, the workshop focused on young researchers from WWU and USP who presented their doctoral theses. Thus, the workshop allowed a very productive international dialogue between PhD candidates and professors from both universities, and countries, who were already involved in collaborations within the project or who were interested in new forms of cooperation concerning highly topical issues such as the relationship between cities, climate and social inequalities in Brazil and Germany. The workshop functioned, therefore, as a platform for elucidative statements such as this one by USP Prof. Dr. Luciana Oliveira de Royer in her keynote lecture: "We should not call the participatory processes a consensus, but a choreography of power";
as well as those by former USP PhD candidate Pedro Julio Sales D'Araújo, who approached tax law in his dissertation and has already performed a research stay at the WWU: “If property taxes in the city are raised, only the richest will be able to afford living within the city centre, whereas the poor will be excluded to the outskirts of the city. There must be a better use to taxation”; as well as the insight of USP Prof. Dr. Luís Fernando Massonetto: "Inequality does not necessarily equate to hierarchy within the rule of law. However, in Brazil we have different legal perspectives in all parts of society. We have fragmented the rule of law based on one's position in society. This is a real problem."
In a very pleasant atmosphere, the presentations during the two days of the workshop provided high quality discussions about the different perspectives, different scientific approaches and realities in both countries. "I was really inspired by the different views of the presentations in the past two days" - expressed Prof. Dr. Schlacke her satisfaction with the workshop.
The most important question regarding the future of the cooperation was posed by Prof. Dr. Sabine Schlacke herself in the last session of the workshop: "How to go on? Faced with this question, the professors from both WWU and the USP were able to declare their strong interest in continuing and deepening the cooperation. In short, although the DAAD funding ends this year, the cooperation should continue. In 2019, Prof. Dr. Sabine Schlacke took over the thematic leadership of the second funding phase of the wwu.usp project on the topic "Cities and Climate" and put a lot of effort into deepening the cooperation between Münster and São Paulo. For the winter semester 2021/22, she has accepted a call to the University of Greifswald. We, from the Brazil Centre, would like to thank her most sincerely for her fabulous engagement and wish her all the best!
The Strategic Partnership Project "wwu.usp" between the WWU and the USP was initiated in 2015 due to the longstanding close and diverse collaboration of the two universities with DAAD funding and consisted of a total of two phases: the first phase comprised the research areas "Law", "Neglected Diseases" as well as "Information Systems" and lasted 4 years; the second phase started in 2019, was dedicated to the topic "Cities and Climate" and will finish at the end of this year (2021).
This funding programme has deepened the cooperation between the two universities since 2015. In terms of research, this could be observed in the identification of four priority topics worked on together, which resulted in numerous joint publications, proposals for scientific cooperation as well as various summer/winter schools and reciprocal research stays. In addition to the priority topics, new collaborations were also established between almost all departments of both universities. Furthermore, a German-Brazilian double degree programme in the biological sciences has been stablished, also funded by the DAAD. Currently, both universities are working on a framework agreement for cotutelle.
The workshop is one of the current digital activities of the wwu.usp project planned for 2021 due to the pandemic-related travel restrictions. Other digital formats include the Data Talks, organised in collaboration with the Humboldt Foundation's Chancellor Fellow Jessica Voigt Quintino Pereira, and the Collaboration Talks, which, under the motto "Travel less, collaborate more", aim to virtually reactivate collaborations between WWU and USP.