Senate approves the creation of UNILA - Federal University of Latin American Integration
On December 16, it was unanimous the approval of the Brazilian Federal Senate on the creation of the Federal University of Latin American Integration (UNILA). It will be installed in the triple border of the city of Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná State, Brazil.
UNILA initiates a new process in international integration policy among Latin American nations through education. The UNILA project was held in partnership with UNESCO, Brazilian Ministry of Education, Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) and Binational Itaipu. After the Senate’s consent, the creation process will be submitted to the presidential approval.
According to the president of the Implementation Commission of UNILA and future rector of the institution, professor Hélgio Trindade, “the approval by the Senate plenary is the conquer of a process that have started two years ago at the Chamber of Deputies, and that concluded by the decision of the leaders of the House to vote the project urgently. This agility was very important to the process”. For him, after the presidential approval and nomination of the rector, UNILA will start to operate in the beginning of 2010 by launching its statute. It will also contract bilingual professors and will promote the selection of students, in which half of the vacancies will be offered to Brazil and half to the other Latin American countries.
During the voting, it was a consensus among the senators the relevance of UNILA’s creation. “It is important that Mercosur be consolidated and that asymmetries be reduced among the countries of the region”, declared the senator Marisa Serrano (PSDB-MS), president of the Education Commission of the Federal Senate. Senator Aloizio Mercadante (PT-SP), leader of the party and of the government, acknowledged the choice of the issue by his colleagues. He remarked that “this is a great project that will change the history of Latin American and an initiative that will contribute to the thought of regional integration”.
In his pronouncement, senator José Agripino (DEM-RN), narrator of the Project for the Commission of External Relations and National Defense, said that he considers the issue meritorious and that it will fill a gap in the field of education. “My vote is enthusiastically favourable. This is an initiative with a futuristic view, since it deals with the basis, which is education”, he emphasized.
Hélgio Trindade remarked the importance of UNESCO participation in building UNILA Project, which was lead by UNESCO Brasilia Office Education consultant and member of UNILA Implementation Commission, Célio da Cunha. UNILA, according to Trindade, is the first university which was created with Latin American emphasis. This will allow an intense sociability between Brazilian students and students of the other Latin American nationalities. Through knowledge, one can reach a higher level of regional integration.
“In this environment, we will create inter disciplinary courses focused on the great integration problems of Latin American in the areas such as International Relations, Culture, Health, Education, History and Human Rights”, cited Trindade. He also reminded about the interest of universities and diplomatic academies of various countries in cooperation with UNILA.