Brazil: Research centres confront rapid change

Are Brazilian research centres ?in the crossroads of ideologies, in the front line of social conflict, where there is confrontation between the deepest desires of men and the perennial message of the Gospel,? as Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II put it? Father General?s letter on the Social Apostolate (January 2000) and his address on faith and justice in higher education (HL00202) stimulated the Society?s four Brazilian Centres of Social Research and Action to discuss their mission and evaluate the services they offer. In Salvador (Bahia), the CEAS works closely with the disenfranchised and landless workers in the North East, traditionally the poorest area of Brazil. The CIAS, a department of the cultural centre of Brasilia, and the CEPAT in Curitiba (Paraná) promote dialogue towards a more caring, democratic and pluralist society, with a special focus on ecology, while the CEDOPE in São Leopoldo (Rio Grande do Sul) forms part of UNISINOS University, and contributes to its humanist and research tradition. Nonetheless, all the rapid social change called ?globalisation? makes it necessary to update training, planning, research and communication. The four centres have agreed on a plan to strengthen co-operation by means of integrated projects, the adoption of standard computer systems that will permit them to exchange databases, and the publication of a review supported by all four centres. [HL10603]