<<February 25, 2000>>

Dr. Marco Antonio R. Dias <mardias@club-internet.fr>

Dr. Parker Rossman <grossman@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

P. Tapio Varis <tapio.varis@uta.fi>

Dear Marco:

(1) Many thanks for your msg (ATTACHMENT I).

Dear Electronic Colleagues:

(2) Attached to his msg is Marco's acceptance speech for the Legion of Honor
by the French Academy of Letters in Paris.

We are very honored and privileged to have Marco as the Vice President
for Administration of our Global University System and one of our
listserve members.

Pls enjoy reading his very interesting French connections.

Dear Parker:

(3) Many thanks for your excellent translation.

Dear Tapio:

(4) Pls kindly forward me Marco's msg about his vice presidency.

Best, Tak

From: "=?iso-8859-1?Q?Marco_Ant=F4nio_Dias?=" <mardias@club-internet.fr>
To: "Tak Utsumi" <utsumi@friends-partners.org>
Subject: Re: English traslation of your speech
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:57:46 +0100

Dear dr. Tak Utsumi,

the work done by Parker Rossman is wonderful. He really knows French very
well. I made some suggestions to make the text clearer. It is nice to have it
in English. Of course, I have some doubts if everybody in GLOSAS will be
pleased with it. It had a good impact here in Paris, but people who read it
must know what language means in international organizations. It is a very
complex matter and unfortunately sometimes language is used as an instrument
against freedom. I tried to explain my historical connections with French
culture and the utilization I try to give to this. This justifies the
motivation of French authorities to pay a tribute with the Legion d'honneur.
But, the main message I tried to transmit is that international cooperation
for higher education must in all cases be an instrument for the building of a
better society.
2- Did Tapio send you a copy of the correspondence we exchanged about the
vice-presidency of GUS?
My best wishes.
Marco Antonio R. Dias

Speeches of writers and philosophers at the French Academy of Letters
tend to be works of erudition, full of scholarly citations, long dissertations
on the meaning of life and the organization of society. Those who are awarded
the decoration of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, the most important French
decoration, often do much the same. But I will not do so. What I have to say
here--in front of my family, representatives of the government of France,
groups of friends and others who have aided me in my professional career--will
first aim to show you how I feel just now. I am very moved at this moment.
This ceremony is the symbol of a personal encounter with a culture and, in
this familiar setting, represents the closing of a circle, a return to the
origins of a saga; I am here in front of my wife, my children, my daughter-in-law,

my son-in-law and grandchildren. One day in the middle of the 19th
century, a Frenchman, Jean Boucher, officer of the French navy, according to
legend ventured into South America. In hot invigorating Salvador in Bahia he
met Francisca Genoveva, the mother of Elisa Boucher, my great-grandmother.
Who would be able to imagine that a century and a half later, after six
tropical generations, the avatars of life would make authentic French people
of my grandchildren, Mathieu Autran Dias and his brother who will be born in
several days? My grandmother, Maria Paula, who from childhood bore the name
Boucher--and who gladly pictured herself a descendant of the 18th century--

would be delighted to know that some of her descendants are French.

This ceremony is equally the happy culmination of a personal choice.
Through my parents generation, French was the second language of my country.
In my wife's family they amuse themselves by going through old albums where
they find menus in French for dinners which my wife's grandfather, a member of
the parliament, in the empire of Brazil, gave for his friends in the colonial
town of Diamantina, Minas Geraes. My generation which grew up during and
immediately following the second world war, saw the consolidation of English
as the international language as young people turned towards the Anglo-Saxon
world. For very diverse reasons that was not true of me nor my wife, student
of the good Sisters at the College of Notre Dame of Zion, Belo Horizonte.
Myself, in Rio de Janeiro, under the influence of a Breton priest, Monseigneur
Soubigou, and of a Brazilian philosopher, Father Penido, and stimulated at the
same time by my ancient French ancestry, I chose French as my principal
foreign language. Monseigneur Penido, I say parenthetically, was a personal
friend of Jacques Maritain and was the only author cited with praise by one of
the creators of UNESCO in his classic work "The degrees of Knowledge" where he
describes as excellent the work of Penido, especially on analogy, The 1950's,
the years of my adolescence--just after the war in which Brazilians were drawn
in battles that were not theirs even if they were on the good side--saw Brazil
inundated by the products of North American culture. They included plastic
toys, yo-yos in many colors, and Coca Cola took over the place of national
drinks which disappeared forever. With reserves accumulated during the war,
Brazilians bought American plastics and, at high price, old British trains
which later, according to the contracts of concession, were given away free.
The country was dominated by films produced in Hollywood. One of the heroes
of my generation was Errol Flynn. It was also the peak time for beauty
pageants to select the prettiest girls in the world and to present in
developing countries an understanding of life and of beauty--and to be sure,
to sell cosmetics. In 1954, if my memory is good, after the collective
commotion in Brazil after losing the world cup in football, another
"catastrophe" occupied the pages of newspapers, magazines and the imagination
of millions of Brazilians: Martha Rocha, the brown Bahia beauty, Brazil's
candidate for Miss Universe, lost the title because she had four toes too
many. Sometime historians will notice that when candidates for Miss Brazil
were asked about their literary preferences, all of them favored "The Little
Prince" by Saint-Exupery. That was nearly obligatory among beauty contest
candidates, as among the young of that epoch who knew the passage where the
wolf said to the little prince "tame me."

If someone asked me what was the first book I read in the original
French, I would have to say that it was in 1952 or 53 when I was twelve or
thirteen. The book was "Le Petit Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupry. That
aviator led me to discover French literature. I subsequently went to a
bookstore on rue Mexico in Rio to buy other books by the same author, "Night
Flight" for example and the works of other French authors that in the 1950's
were available in paperback. Later, under the influence of teachers
previously mentioned and of Brazilian Dominicans from the school of Toulouse,
such as Brother Mateus Rocha--who had a great influence on a whole generation--

I discovered authors that I read perhaps without yet having the maturity to
understand them at depth: Jacques Maritain, Gabriel Marcel, Garrigou-Lagrange
and, later, Mounier, Teillard de Chardin and Bernanos, --who one of my
professors, Edgar de Matta Machado had welcomed in Brazil during the Second
World War and had translated into Portuguese.

A French Dominican in Brazil, Brother Pierre Secondi in 1966--at the
moment when I was trying to get a French scholarship to obtain a diploma from
the University of Paris--wrote for me a letter of recommendation addressed to
the Cultural Consul of the French Embassy in Brazil. After making some surely
exaggerated references to my personal and professional qualifications, he
suggested with all the seriousness and dignity of his character that the plan
would support French-Brazilian cooperation, at the moment on such a high
level. So in October, 1966, during cold and somber autumn, I disembarked in
Paris for the first time. By chance a Brazilian friend I encountered at Orly
airport, Francisco Paiva Chavez, helped me find a hotel, the Gersen on rue des
Ecoles. Then on that evening of my arrival he kindly drove me around by car
`Paris by night.' You can not imagine the intensity of sensation and
enthusiasm of a young Brazilian at seeing, for the first time, the Eiffel
tower, the Sorbonne, the Bastille square, the Obelisk, the Champs Elysees.
The first two years in Paris were marvelous. When then I lost my scholarship
under pressure from the military attache from Brazil, it was the Catholic
Committee Against Hunger and for Development that came to my assistance,
enabling me to complete my third cycle of studies.

We returned then to Brazil to a Brazil during a period of coup d'etat
which consolidated a dictatorship which endured for twenty years. To be a
person strongly influenced by French culture during that historical period was
not the best way to be appreciated by those who held power. I will limit
myself to telling one anecdote that certain ones here--such as these working
with the French ambassador to Brazil at that time--know all of the details.
Around 1974, using the analytical skills I had acquired as a journalist, I
concluded that Francois Mitterand, defeated in elections, would one day win.
So I suggested that the university invite him to come and give a lecture. But
permission was not given. Several years later when I was vice-rector of the
university I was accused of beeing the personal representative of Mitterand in
Brazil. Poor Francois Mitterand! He probably had never heard my name, but a
security officer of Brazil went to France to enquire into my life and
relationships there. He made contact with adversaries of Mitterand and a
Corsican situated among high-ranking functionaries of a cabinet minister
informations which would justify that trip to France. Fortunately, the effort
manipulation was blocked by some Quai d'Orsay diplomats such as Ambassadors
Legendre and Jean-Louis Marfaing, here present today. It was all ridiculous,
however I must admit that I developed at that moment a strong feeling against
Corsicans. Later, however, in the 1990's there was another process of
destabilization, this time inside UNESCO, which reminded me that such
generalizations are dangerous. This time my ties with France were not
adequate in a setting dominated by other sensibilities. At that time I was a
French speaking person isolated in an Anglo-Saxon milieu which was not of a
mood to give in to me. It was at that moment that another Corsican, president
of the national French commission, took the initiative to come to see me and
tell me that France saw what was happening at UNESCO and was very satisfied
with the direction of UNESCO's Division of Higher Education, and to say that
France was ready to speak up in my defense should that become necessary. That
had a great impact at UNESCO headquarters, so you will not be surprised that I
here express my profound gratitude to Mr. Jean Sirinnelli, former Pesident of
the French national commission for UNESCO.

This decoration is the fruit of what in France is called "cohabitation".
Proposed by the government of France, especially the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, it was implemented by a special decree by President Chirac. I must
give special thanks to Ambassador Musitelli, Madame Sylvianne Legrand and all
of the members of the delegation, and most happily to the friends in the
French Commission for UNESCO who have supported the work of the Division of
Higher Education during all these years, nearly eighteen, during which I have
been Director. By this gesture I knew that the French government wished to
pay tribute to someone who, although having a strong national accent and weak
French, has always used French as his principal working language, but has also
wished to reward a long enduring, an understanding of life. In choosing
French as my principal foreign language, I opened for myself a door to the
work of philosophers, journalists and humanist writers. I gave myself direct
access to the principles of liberty and respect for human rights. I obtained
an instrument which enabled me to position myself monopolist positions,
especially in the world of culture. In the 1960's, as a journalist and young
director of means of communication in Brazil, I had spurred the presence of
French song. I signed agreements with the French Press Agency. In the 1970's
at the University of Brazilia, I pressed for an agreement with France for the
teaching of public administrators which led to my country experts and
Graduates of the ENA (Ecole Nationale d'Administration), such as Jean Pierre
Hoss, to cite one example. I was at the same time an enthusiast for the
polemical new `world information order'--and if my French friends can pardon
my insolence--I would say that the principles that we supported on that
occasion are the same that all french people defend now with the idea of
("Cultural Exception").

I also know that in awarding the Legion of Honor to a foreigner, an ex-functionary of UNESCO,

the French government wished to express publicly its
support for the orientation and work of a team, a dynamic conception of
education, an idea of cooperation based upon solidarity, sharing, and a
respect for cultural diversity. I began by saying that I was not going to
give an academic lecture such as these of the French Academy of Letters. But
in a moment of transition there are certain ideas that should be emphasized. I
am in full agreement with Monsieur Jospin who declared--at the UNESCO higher
education conference (Paris, October 1998), that "there is no one unique model
for higher education," and that "if higher education must adapt itself to the
market, then I challenge the mercantile conception that it must be determined
by the market." I am in complete agreement with President Chirac who just
before the World Trade Organization Conference in Seatle, stated seven
principles for a new world order: collective responsibility in action, equity,
solidarity, diversity, caution, liberty, complimentarity.

I am very grateful to the Brazilian authorities who--despite menacing
agent of repression, supported with courage in the 1980's my nomination to
UNESCO: Ministers of Education Portella, Ludwig and Euro Brand o, Ministers of
Foreign Affairs Silveira and Guerreiro, Ambassadors Geralo Holanda Cavalcanti,
Baena Soares and Paulo Carneiro, Vice-Minister Octavio Costa and many others.
President Cardoso and Minister Paulo Renato Sousa, despite the fact that I
defend an economic politics different from that of their administration, gave
a clear support at crucial moments for my actions at UNESCO. I also happily
recognize Monsieur M'Bow who--in naming me Director of the Division of Higher
Education--did not give support to those who thought that our efforts should
be limited to developing nations. I am grateful to Monsieur Mayor for not
yielding to the pressures of those who would have sent me to the far corners
of the universe and who opened the way to a humanist vision in our work. I am
also grateful to Rector van Ginkel and members of the University Council of
the United Nations who, always taking into account my limitations, solicited
my collaboration in efforts to help to strenghten universities and research in
the developing world.

UNESCO, as all human institutions, must try hard to improve itself.
Reforms are always necessary. Abuses must be eliminated, but it is not
necessary to go very far to find philosophical foundations which have the
power to justify educational and cultural action on the international level.
The team which launched the UNITWIN program, which organized the world
conference on higher education, who prepared normative instruments for higher
education personnel, and for academic mobility, who developed the idea of
cooperation based on solidarity, the team with which I share this decoration,
knows that all we have done has been for the construction of a better society,
more just, more equitable. The governements have a role to play in this
enterprise, but civil society and members of the academic community in
particular, have their word to say in this area.

Return to Global University System Early 2000 Correspondence

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Dr. Marco Antonio R. Dias
Vice President, Global University System
Consultant of United Nations University
Former Director, Division of Higher Education of UNESCO
36, Rue Ernest Renan
92.190 Meudon
Tel: +33-1-45 34 3509
Fax: +33-1-45 34 3509

Dr. Parker Rossman
3 Lemmon Drive
Columbia MO 65201-5413
FAX: 314-876-5812 (emergency)

P. Tapio Varis, Ph.D, Professor
Acting President, Global University System
Chairman, GLOSAS/Finland
Professor and Chair
Media Culture and Communication Education
Hypermedia laboratory
University of Tampere
P.O.Box 607
FIN-33101 Tampere
Tel: +358-3-215 6110
GSM: +358-50-567-9833
Fax: +358-3-215 7503
* Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D., P.E., Chairman, GLOSAS/USA *
* (GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A.) *
* Laureate of Lord Perry Award for Excellence in Distance Education *
* Founder of CAADE *
* (Consortium for Affordable and Accessible Distance Education) *
* President Emeritus and V.P. for Technology and Coordination of *
* Global University System (GUS) *
* 43-23 Colden Street, Flushing, NY 11355-3998, U.S.A. *
* Tel: 718-939-0928; Fax: 718-939-0656 (day time only--prefer email) *
* Email: utsumi@columbia.edu; Tax Exempt ID: 11-2999676 *
* http://www.friends-partners.org/GLOSAS/ *

Return to: Global University System Early 2000 Correspondence
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