21 October 2012
Audience at the Congress AAI President Carlos A. Diaz
Last month, with AAI Director Alexandre Shimono, I was very pleased to represent AAI at the First Secular Humanist Congress in Brazil. This was an important event hosted by AAI's Affiliate, LiHS, as it was the first time a group of atheists, humanists and secularists had gathered for this kind of occasion in Brazil. The IHEU and HIVOS supported the Congress and over 200 people attended, including 88 students sponsored by Atheist Alliance International. Attendees enjoyed interesting speeches and were head to say "this is historical!' and 'this is amazing!'. A report from LiHS is below.
I was very pleased to see that the Congress (and AAI's support for it) received coverage in Estado de Sao Paulo, one of Brazil's most important newspapers. Congratulations LiHS on a successful event I hope the enthusiasm from the Congress assists your work in Brazil!
LiHS report: The 1st Secular Humanist Conference of Brazil was a remarkable success
More than 200 people from all over the country attended to the conference in Porto Alegre
"Getting together and showing to society that it is possible to live ethically and to find meaning in life, without God." This was only one of the objectives of CHS 2012 – a two day, tour de force towards a more rational, more humanist and more secular Brazil.
“It was the first face-to-face meeting of several Brazilian secular humanists, skeptics, rationalists, atheists, agnostics and moderate theists; two days of excellent quality panels and presentations." said Eli Vieira, one of the organizers.
“I was impressed with the interest of so much youngsters, with the organization”, said Prof. Renato Flores, one of the speakers. “What I saw at the 1st Conference in Brazil was simply breathtaking (…) almost 24 hours of an intense event reaching the broad scope of humanism in a couple of days at a single, very real place. (…) I was extremely glad to attend and be part of this historic event and look forward to the next”, said Kentaro Mori, one of the speakers.
The dangers of the advancement of a Christian theocracy in Brazil, homophobia, human rights, women in the labor force, the expansion of pseudoscience and the importance of tolerance –all were topics extensively discussed during the two days of the conference. “There is so much more to talk about and we are happy that there is space in society for the debate”, said Stíphanie Silva, one of the directors of LiHS.
The event featured internationally renowned speakers, such as the Portuguese philosopher Desidério Murcho ("The meaning of life, in the rationalist perspective"), the renowned Brazilian science Professor Francisco Salzano and dozens of others. “We had over 15 activities from lectures, to roundtables and side events such as the 7th edition of the Porto Alegre Skeptics in the Pub”, said Åsa Heuser, president of LiHS.
Held in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil, the conference was organized by the Brazilian NGO Secular Humanist League of Brazil (LiHS), with international support from IHEU (International Humanist and Ethics Union), the Hivos – People Unlimited – Institute and the Atheist Alliance International (AAI).