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15 years of LABMUNDO's trajectory

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In 2021 the World Political Analysis Laboratory (LABMUNDO) completes 15 years since its establishment. Throughout these years, many dreams and shared interests led us to construct a network of collaboration, solidarity, and passion for academic research.

The research group was founded in March of 2006 at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA, in Portuguese) in the city of Salvador. From the beginning, strengthening the discipline of International Relations in the Brazilian Northeast region was one of its main objectives. LABMUNDO was one of the first research groups focused on this scientific area in the entire UFBA. Under the coordination of professors Carlos R. S. Milani and Ruthy Nadia Laniado, who would soon be joined by professor Elsa Kraychete, LABMUNDO’s first home was at the UFBA School of Administration.

Some previous initiatives and partnerships paved the way for the constitution of the group, such as the Alfa Amelat XXI program of academic cooperation between Latin America and the European Union, with initiatives such as the internationalization and training of graduate students, and the summer schools in Montevideo (2007) and Madrid (2008). In 2005, offering the first undergraduate modules under the name of International Relations was a key initiative. It aroused students’ interest from different areas indicating the importance of deepening the focus study in the area of IR.

Since its foundation, the group has been an important player in the consolidation of the International Relations area at UFBA, participating in the creation of the Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Course in Humanities with a focus on International Relations, in 2008, in the context of the REUNI federal program. Subsequently, members of LABMUNDO also participated in the creation of the Postgraduate Program in International Relations, with Mphil and Ph.D. courses, which was one of the first in the North and Northeast regions.

LABMUNDO is also responsible for the organization of Bahia’s International Relations Weeks (SEBARI, in Portuguese). Its first edition was in 2009, and it has become an important event among International Relations researchers in Salvador and its surroundings. Since its first edition, SEBARI has brought together prestigious national and international scholars at UFBA to discuss the main agendas of international politics.

Throughout its history, institutional partnerships have strengthened LABMUNDO’s actions and contributed to the realization of large projects. In this context, partnerships with researchers and institutions from France played a key role. Such partnership allowed hosting Brazilian researchers in France and French researchers in Brazil, such as Marie-Françoise Durand, Guillaume Devin, and Bertrand Badie. It is also worth mentioning young researchers from Sciences Po, such as Benoit Martin, Mélanie Albaret, and Philippe Copinschi. The group organized activities related to the celebrations of the Year of Brazil in France (2005) and the Year of France in Brazil (in 2009), such as the translation of books into Portuguese (such as the works Sociologie des relations internationales, by Guillaume Devin, Le diplomate et l’intrus, by Bertrand Badie, and the Atlas de la mondialisation, authored by professors from Sciences PO Paris); a traveling exhibition of cartography on the Brazil-France bilateral relationship (with the support from the French embassy) and courses in the French language applied to IR.

As of 2011, another front was inaugurated. LABUMUNDO established one more headquarter at the Institute of Social and Political Studies of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (IESP/UERJ), when Professor Enara Echart joined the coordination of the group, generating intense cooperation between IESP and UNIRIO. In 2018, Professor Rubens Duarte took over the coordination of LABMUNDO alongside Carlos Milani.

Today LABMUNDO is an influential research group in Brazil in the area of International Relations, working together with several national and international networks. The group’s coordinator, Carlos Milani, also founded, in 2020, the Interdisciplinary Observatory on Climate Change (OIMC), dedicated to the theme of climate change and the impacts of global warming.

Over the last 15 years, our path was marked by great achievements. LABMUNDO has conquered its space in the public and academic debate on the main agendas of International Relations, establishing a wide network of interaction with Brazilian and international researchers and institutions in the same field and in a transdisciplinary perspective as well.

Those who graduated from the open courses, disciplines, programs, and orientations of LABMUNDO are now spread around the world, and many are scholars with their own groups. To celebrate this History, we honor the memories of its participants and remember the most important events. We remember and celebrate the past, keeping an eye on the future, ready for the next 15 years.