We have been getting lots of visitors in Brazil. They have to come now, since much activity shut down for the holidays a couple of weeks from now and will not really recommence until after Carnival.
The most interesting for me was a visit by a delegation from the State of Massachusetts led by Governor Deval Patrick. Most of the delegation consisted of business people representing high-tech and life-science firms, but there were also representatives of Massachusetts’ universities. We were happy to see them, since they fit in well with our support for the Ciência sem Fronteiras project. The universities reps said that they were interested in taking Brazilian students and the Brazilians are interested in going to Massachusetts, so it looks like we have the beginnings of a beautiful friendship.
Massachusetts is a case study in the value of education. The state has gone through good times and hard times, but it always adapts. The high levels of education make this much easier. I gave a short presentation to the group and they were pleased when I called their home a “state of brains” but I was not trying to flatter. Massachusetts has long been one of the case studies I use when talking about renewal, resilience and the crucial role that education plays in easing transitions.
Nobody can predict the future with any certainty. The best plans and most elegant adaptions to current conditions will someday become useless and maybe even dysfunctional when technologies, trade patterns or other relationships change. Education cannot protect you from change, but it can help you identify trends and develop options to deal with them.