International Symposium in honour of JMGago (1948-2015)

//International Symposium in honour of JMGago (1948-2015)
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With the collaboration of the Academia Europaea and Ciência Viva (Portuguese Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture)


Madrid, June 1-2, 2016



Chaired by:

Federico Mayor, President of the Culture of Peace Foundation, and Ricard Guerrero, Academic Director of the Barcelona Knowledge Hub of the Academia Europaea.


On April 17, 2015, in Lisbon, the city where he was born in 1948, died José Mariano Gago, former Minister of Science and Technology (1995-2002) and Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education (2005-2011) of Portugal. Gago played a crucial role in the design of plans for the development of science, technology and innovation, not only in his country but throughout Europe. He did it by designing and promoting several organisms that played major roles in the structure and organization of science in the European Union during the last thirty years, particularly in the creation and initial impulse of the Academia Europaea, the European Science Foundation and the European Research Council.

The proposed Symposium will remember the huge task carried out by Gago, and his outstanding intellectual ability. Firstly, through his work as a physicist of elementary particles at CERN, Geneva, a centre to which he devoted many years of his professional career. Then, in the organization of science, technology and higher education in Portugal. And finally, in the organization of several European bodies that have been essential to develop the governance of science in the EU and, through this, contributing to improve of the organization of science around the world.

This Symposium will pay Gago a tribute on the occasion of the first anniversary of his death by remembering his work, which was essential for the improvement of the Portuguese university, and for the setting up and development of several organisms that have allowed the implementation of programmes of the highest scientific, technological and innovative significance at EU level. In addition, the Symposium will remember Gago’s decisive role to promote high quality standards for global research, especially among young scientists of prestige.

Gago also played a crucial role to make that scientific culture were considered one of the main bases to achieve a free, democratic society, in which knowledge and education were highly appreciated values. One of his major achievements was the creation and early development of Ciência Viva, the Portuguese Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture. Ciência Viva, launched in 1996, had its most direct manifestation in the organization of science centres around Portugal and made it possible to convey science and technology to the youngster.

Finally, we should not forget Gago’s seminal role in the creation and organisation of the Academia Europaea, founded in London in 1988, one of whose objectives was to help in the development of European policy for research, education and training at the highest levels. Those objectives tried to harmonize and coordinate the traditionally diverse and particular cultures on science and education in different European countries. Through this “unity in diversity”, the original aim of the founders of the Academia Europaea was to create a genuine area of intellectual excellence by recognizing the quality and relevance of all fields of knowledge, and leveraging the experience, culture and tradition of the huge conglomerate of cultures and traditions that make up Europe.

José Mariano Gago taught us many lessons. The proposed Symposium would remember all those that he left to us, and impulse us to follow his example, to achieve a more educated and better prepared society, able to face the new challenges that contemporary times are presenting to our oldand young Continent. Only through knowledge, education and dialogue will we be able to deal with the melting pot of cultures and civilizations that have characterized Europe.

Recalling one fortunate yet shocking sentence by Federico Mayor, we could say:

Si vis pacem, para verbum

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