Educator Nilma Lino Gomes is the first black woman to be sworn into office as dean of a federal university in Brazil. Nilma took over as dean pro tempore of the Universidade da Integração Internacional da Lusofonia Afro-Brasileira (Unilab or the University of the International Integration Afro-Brazilian Lusophone) on the afternoon of Monday, April 1. She assumes the position left by the new secretary of higher education MEC, Paulo Speller. Nilma’s position is distinguished from that of Ivete Sacramento, who became the first woman to be named dean of a Brazilian university, in that Gomes heads a federal university.
Unilab began its academic activities in 2011 with five courses, and the following year already offered 1,010 enrollments. Headquartered in Redenção, Ceará (northeastern Brazil), the university has as its objective – beyond higher education, research and extension – train human resources to contribute to the integration between Brazil and the other member countries of the Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa (Community of Portuguese Language Countries or CPLP), especially African countries and promote regional development and cultural, scientific and educational exchange.
According to Minister of Education, Aloizio Mercadante, Unilab acts as the gate of Africa in Brazil, a space of promoting relations between Brazilians and Africans. “The university will bring culture, the history of Africa, music, art, science,” said Mercadante.
Nilma Lino Gomes has a degree in education and a master’s in education from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG or Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais), earned a doctorate in social sciences from the Universidade de São Paulo (University of São Paulo or USP) and a post-doctorate in sociology from the Universidade de Coimbra (University of Coimbra) in Portugal. The teacher acted as professor of the Department of School Administration of the Faculty of Education at UFMG and general coordinator of the Affirmative Action Program at UFMG and the Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas sobre Relações Raciais e Ações Afirmativas (Center for Studies and Research on Race Relations and Affirmative Action or NERA). Between 2004 and 2006, she chaired the Associação Brasileira de Pesquisadores Negros (Brazilian Association of Black Researchers or ABPN) and since 2010 has been a member of the Câmara de Educação Básica do Conselho Nacional de Educação (Board of Basic Education of the National Council of Education), where she participates in the national technical committee of diversity for issues related to the education of Afro-Brazilians.
Note from BW of Brazil: As an anthropologist Gomes did extensive research on the significance of hair in the construction of black identity in Brazil. This blog has cited her work twice, here and here.
Two of her most widely circulated books include Sem perder a raiz: Corpo e cabelo como símbolos da identidade negra (Without losing the root: Body and hair as symbols of black identity). Belo Horizonte: Autêntica, 2006 and A mulher negra que vi de perto – o processo de construção da identidade racial de professoras negras (The black women that I saw up close: The process of the construction of the racial identity of black female teachers). Belo Horizonte: Mazza, 1995
Source: Jornal Brasil