Main personalities

Anísio Spínola Teixeira was born on July 12, 1900, in Caetité, Bahia, where he spent the first few years of his life under his mother’s care, Anna Spínola Teixeira.

His father, Deocleciano Pires Teixeira, always dreamed that his son would grow up to be a politician and sent him to study in Rio de Janeiro. Anísio graduated in 1922 from the School of Law at the University of Rio de Janeiro.

Being an educator, Teixeira travelled to Europe and the United States to observe their school systems. In Brazil, he defended the concept of a free public school as a way to guarantee democracy and was the first to treat education on a philosophical basis.
In 1950, he formed the first “school estate” (escola parque), seeking to offer children a comprehensive school that would provide food, hygiene and socialization, as well as prepare them for the working world. In the escolas parques, the students also worked with fine arts. In those days, the class advisors were renowned professionals like Caribe and Mário Cravo.

Teixeira always fought for democracy in education. He published several books arguing for education and culture for all. He was one of the founders of the Commission for Further Education of Higher Level Personnel (CAPES) and of the University of Brasilia where he was president in 1963.

In 1971, he applied for membership to the Brazilian Language Academy. Tragically, he died before the election after falling down an elevator shaft when visiting Aurélio Buarque in Holland.

Darcy Ribeiro

On October 26, 1922, the ethnologist, anthropologist, teacher, educator, essayist and novelist Darcy Ribeiro was born in Montes Claros, a town in the state of Minas Gerais. He dedicated the first years of his professional life to the study of the Indians of the Pantanal marshlands in central Brazil and the Amazon area (1946-1956). In 1946, he graduated in Social Science from the School of Sociology and Political Science of São Paulo, specializing in Anthropology.

In the sixties, he fought for the creation of UnB, and was its first president. He was elected senator and participated in various projects and bills related to education, citizenship and social welfare. He authored numerous works, essays and novels. On October 8, 1992, he occupied Cathedra no. 11 at the Brazilian Language Academy, succeeding Deolindo Couto.

He was given honorary PhDs from the Sorbonne, UnB, the University of Copenhagen, the University of the Republic of Uruguay and the Central University of Venezuela. In 1995, UnB paid homage to him as one of its founders, naming its main campus after him.
He died on February 17, 1997, in Brasilia, and was buried in a mausoleum at the Brazilian Language Academy in Rio de Janeiro. Since his death, the Darcy Ribeiro Foundation (FUNDAR) has been responsible for his remembrance.

Oscar Niemeyer

Born in Rio de Janeiro, on December 15, 1907, Oscar Niemeyer is the Brazilian architect who has accumulated the largest number of international awards. He graduated from the National School of Fine Arts in 1934. His first job as an architect was as a member of a team headed by Lúcio Costa, under the consultancy of Le Corbusier. In 1936, the team designed the headquarters of the Ministry of Health and Education, which was considered a milestone in worldwide modern architecture.

From that point on, Niemeyer never stopped participating in major innovative projects. He achieved prestige and recognition from the construction of Brasilia in 1960, where he was named head of the Department of Architecture and Urbanism for the Urbanization Company of the New Capital (NOVACAP) and designed the city’s main public buildings. His projects are characterized by modernism, boldness and innovation in architectonic esthetics.

In 1962, he was appointed coordinator of the Institute of Architecture at UnB. In collaboration with Lúcio Costa, he designed the Brazilian pavilion at the New York World’s Fair and participated in the Berlin reconstruction project in Germany.
He has received Honoris Causa degrees from the German Center for Research and Teaching in Architecture, UnB, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the Braz Cubas University in São Paulo (UBC), the University of São Paulo (USP) and the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).

Athos Bulcão

Born in Rio de Janeiro on July 2, 1918, Athos Bulcão, a sculptor, painter and teacher, is one of Brazil’s most important artists. In 1939, he abandoned his degree program in Medicine in the third year in order to dedicate himself to art. At the request of Oscar Niemeyer, he inaugurated the Architects Institute of Brazil.

After having won a fellowship from the French government in 1948, he went to Europe where he received honorable mention in a competition at the city university in Paris.
From 1955, he worked as a sculptor. His body of work includes the Cathedral in Brasilia, the Church of Nossa Senhora of Fátima, the Brasilia Palace Hotel, the Juscelino Kubitchek Memorial and the city park, among others. In 1963, he was professor of the Central Arts Institute at UnB. He participated in the protest denouncing the difficulties the university was going through, which culminated in the collective dismissal of 1965. Athos was one of the 209 professors who left UnB.

He received the Order of Cultural Merit in 1995. The following year, he was named Honorary Citizen of Brasilia and, in 2000, participated in the inauguration of the UnB Community Center named after him.

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