From right to left: Rafael Iorio, full professor of Law on Estácio de Sá University - Gabriel Almeida, Ethics Fellow for the Future and undergraduate Law studente on UFF - Devin Stewart, Senior Fellow from Carnegie Council - Fernanda Duarte, Global Ethics Fellow, Federal Judge and full professor of Law on UFF and Estácio - Ronaldo Lucas da Silva, historian and associate editor of the Brazilian Journal of Military History - Michael Ignatieff, Carnegie Council Centennial Chair and Professor on Harvard University.
Since FIFA Confederation Cup occurred, about a month ago, the world has been closely observing Brazil. The huge events we are hosting in the next years, FIFA World Cup in 2014 an Olympics in 2016, as the ones we are now, like de World Youth Day, bring up vital questions: is Brazil ready to receive those events? How the international agenda is affecting local policies? How the population is reacting to all this?
This year, the Brazil watched the Mensalão Trial, where lots of politicians were condemned for corruption crimes. Corruption is one of the most difficult challenges that we have in Brazil, in order to establish our democracy. However, although we do have specific local issues, we can certainly affirm that corruption is not an exclusive problem of Brazil: every country has to challenge corruption. How do they deal with corruption? What can we learn from them? What can they learn from us?
In order to response those questions, the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs promote the Global Ethical Dialogue in which, as said Professor Michael Ignatieff, “Carnegie Council goes around the world looking at ethical problems and understanding what we have in common; the problems we have in common and the language we have in common to solve them.”.
The mission started in Uruguay and Argentina, and then it came to Brazil. During one week, from June 17th to June 21 th, members of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs were in Rio de Janeiro in meetings with teachers, researchers, members of the judiciary, the executive, the legislature and civil society, debating issues on Ethics, Corruption, Public Trust, Environment and Sustainability.
Corruption and Public Trust was the main theme of the first two days of the Global Dialogues in Brazil. In the morning of June 17th, Monday, scholarships and researchers from the INCT-InEAC gathered onCCJF– Federal Justice Cultural Center - to discuss Brazilian law and juridical culture, and how it implies in the matters of ethics. The discussion was mediated by the Global Fellow Fernanda Duarte. For the professor Roberto Kant de Lima, PhD from Harvard and Professor on Federal Fluminense Law School, the first point about the Brazilian system is that "it is related to a dogmatic field of the law, where ideals are associated with the state: “Public” in Portuguese is associated with state; it is “state-owned.” The state therefore ranks higher than society, in a hierarchic way. The state governs society based on its own rules”
In the second day, on Estácio de Sá University, Professor Delton Meirelles, from LAFEP-UFF, mediated the debate between Professor Michael Ignatieff and the public. The direct talk between the public and the Professor made the debate really dynamic, where students could give theirs impressions about the topics in discussion.
In the third day of event, the main theme was Environment and Sustainability. The challenges of protecting the environment and the tensions between protection and development were the main points of the two debates of the day, which had dialogues between researchers, judges, journalists and members of Carnegie Mission.
After three days of instigating meetings and roundtables, Professor Michael Ignatieff gave us awonderful lecture, in which he made some thoughts about what he saw in Brazil.
One unpredictable fact made this beginning of mission more interesting: at the same time that Carnegie came to Brazil to discuss Corruption and Public Trust the Brazilian people came out streets to protest!
Professor Michael and the Senior Fellow Devin Stewart made a real “camp” in Rio de Janeiro’s protests. In the video below, we can see the Professor talking to a young student. When asked what she was protesting for, she said “PEC 37”. This proposal (a project for constitutional amendment) aimed to limit the investigation power of the Public Ministry, institution that in Brazilian Law is accountable for the criminal prosecution. In the week after the event, the controversial proposal (PEC that goes for project for constitutional amendment) came to be rejected by the Congress.
PEC 37 was not the only reason why people were on streets. We can’t for sure precise what was the agenda: the movement was very diffuse, and different groups were protesting for different reasons. The high costs of living and the bad conditions of the public services, the investments on big events like the World Cup, the Corruption on different levels of public administration, the low investments on education and health – all these points could be seen on papers on streets.
In this text, Devin Stewart gives his first thoughts about the lessons of the first part of the Global Ethical Dialogues Mission.
This short exposal of the Global Dialogues in Brazil is one idea to bring up questions and debates about Ethics and Law in comparative perspectives. As a proposal for starting a discussion: