More And Better
Interview with Professor José Pedro Sousa Dias
As it is essential that we are familiar with what has been done at the University of Lisbon with regard to the 2011 celebrations of the Centenary of the Re-foundation of the Institution, we interviewed Professor José Pedro Sousa Dias, Pro-Rector of the University of Lisbon. .
Biographical note: José Pedro Sousa Dias is Pro-Rector of the University of Lisbon and the coordinator of the celebrations of the 100th Anniversary of the University. An Associate Professor of the Faculty of Pharmacy, he is responsible for several subjects in the field of history social studies applied to pharmacy. He has a PhD in Pharmacy by the UL, with a thesis on the history of pharmacy in the 18th century, and has focused his professional work as a researcher in History of the Health Sciences. He is a member of CEHFCi - Centro de Estudos de História e Filosofia da Ciência (Centre for History and Philosophy of Science Studies) and his current research interests include contemporary history of biomedical sciences in Portugal, the scientific and social aspects of the history of medication in the 17th and 18th centuries, and history of medicine and pharmacy in the Portuguese expansion and colonization.
Newsletter: Professor José Pedro Sousa Dias, can you tell readers of the Newsletter of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon what the main objectives and projects of ULis2011 are? We are referring to several working groups, all of them linked to distinct research projects, albeit related, associated with the centenary of the re-foundation of UL, is it not so?
Professor José Pedro Sousa Dias: Professor José Pedro Sousa Dias: The Celebrations of the 100th Years of the University of Lisbon, which we named ULis2011, were conceived as an opportunity to reflect about the University and its past, but by looking ahead into the future, and about what the university intends to be and do over the next decades. We want this set of activities to be a demonstration of its cohesion, diversity, strength and educational, scientific and cultural potential. There are four basic themes that underpin the celebrations of the 100th Anniversary:
- 100 People (History). The memory and history of the University from medieval to contemporary times.
- 100 Places (Heritage). The scientific artistic, historical and architectonic legacy of the University
- 100 Lectures (Learning and Culture). The educational and cultural contribution of the University.
- 100+1 Ideas for the Future (Science and Innovation). Thinking and scientific potential as tools for social and economic intervention by the University.
The ULis2011 celebrations include a programme of printed publications, multimedia contents, the creation of a digital archive of texts, talks, two international conferences, exhibitions (“100 years of the University of Lisbon”, “The University of Lisbon at the Municipal Photographic Archive”), concerts, an alumni convivial dinner, students parties and other public events. Most of the activities will take part throughout the forthcoming year, and the high moment will be the Commemorative Session of the 100th Anniversary of the University of Lisbon on 22 March 2011. The programme can be followed-up at the Portal Ulis2011: www.centenario.ul.pt
Newsletter: Would you like to highlight a particular event in the programme for the 2011 Celebrations?
Professor José Pedro Sousa Dias: It is difficult to single out one event, but I would like to draw attention to five: the editorial plan, the documentary, the electronic encyclopaedia, a cycle of one hundred talks and another of guided tours.
The editorial plan focuses on the publication of four main books, of which two are on the history of the institution: one is about the medieval University in Lisbon (1288-1537), coordinated by Hermenegildo Fernandes, and another is about the University of Lisbon (1834-2003) – from the Liberal Revolution to the present (coordinated by Sérgio Campos Matos and Jorge do Ó). The third book is about its heritage (Scientific, Artistic and Architectonic Heritage, coordinated by Marta C. Lourenço and Maria João Neto), and the forth is on science and innovation (100+1 Ideas for the future: The University of Lisbon in one hundred research projects, coordinated by Maria José Gomes).
A documentary is also currently being produced, directed by Catarina Alves Costa, which follows the history of the University of Lisbon form the onset up the end of the 1970s.
“Memory of the University” (www.memoria.ul.pt) is an electronic encyclopaedia on the teaching, science and culture of the University of Lisbon, which is constantly being updated, with factual information and of a prosopographic nature, containing semantic notes and signed articles and essays.
The cycle “100 Lectures” will include 100 talks, which will take place between January and March 2011, given by former students of the University, on topics chosen by them.
The guide tour cycle is one of the highlighted events. Besides the areas where its activity is still being carried out, the University marked its presence in other areas of Lisbon. The project “100 Places” includes surveying, identification, description, and geo-referencing (Topography of the University), and a programme of guided tours (Routes within the University) on Saturdays and Sundays from March to April 2011.
Newsletter: How do you see the role of the University of Lisbon nowadays, with regard to its origins and historical development in the last century?
Professor José Pedro Sousa Dias: Professor José Pedro Sousa Dias: The Republican legislation of 1911, besides setting up new universities, such as the University of Lisbon, made it mandatory for lecturers to produce new knowledge and not limit themselves to transmitting knowledge produced by others. This norm brought new characteristics to the University of Lisbon, namely instilling a strong research component in fields such as Medicine. It was not by chance that the University of Lisbon was the only one to produce a Nobel Laureate. This innovative tradition is something that it is necessary to nurture and disseminate nowadays, opposing the idea that was cultivated even among leaders of the UL in the 1960s, that the UL is a Classical University
José Pedro Sousa Dias
Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon and Centre for History and Philosophy of Science Studies