Tiago Santos Pereira
“A significant part of my Fulbright experience has been characterized by the fact of being specifically in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
At the beginning, on my arrival, the dynamism of the area was well evident in the housing market. After having already tried not successfully to find a place before arriving, finding one to stay for three months was not the easiest of tasks.
Beyond the high prices of the area, it was not easy to find a place, for a short period of time and during the academic year, not too far from campus. However, local colleagues knew the difficulties far too well and a colleague with whom I had already developed earlier contacts on common research interests hosted me with her family temporarily (I did eventually find a place to stay). This not only provided me with some relief but it was also a nice opportunity for several exchanges, some more academic, some more culinary. It also helped me guiding through the local maze of opportunities, among which the Harvard Widener Library is a major one (both a major maze and a major opportunity). The excellent collection it holds could have given me plenty of reason to extend my three month scholarship, certainly not long enough to review the enormous amount of books which were successively enlarging my potential bibliography. I also became aware of its wide coverage simply by chance: some of the books I was interested were catalogued under Q, just next to PR, which held some very interesting and possibly difficult to find Portuguese publications and periodicals from several periods. But often I could rely simply on my local library at the Kennedy School, or would have to learn where library X or Y were. And then there were the several bookshops… So this did take me some time. The local area is also to some extend a maze, with its different squares, Kendall Square, Central Square, Inman Square, Harvard Square, Porter Square, Davis Square.
At the beginning everybody would tell me to refer to Harvard Square to find whatever I was looking for, but I had, for a start, some difficulty in finding the square although it was obvious for everybody else. I suppose that I was expecting a square, with four sides and possibly empty in the middle, but these squares certainly do not have four sides, may have a kiosk or the T (local tube) in the middle, or just be a normal intersection, and they do extend into the neighboring streets, which continue to be part of the square. Not obvious!
There are also several research centres with frequent events, both in my field of study or related which had a particularly distinguished speaker. The Forum at the Kennedy School is well known for that. But then I suppose I could just be attending such events, which was not exactly the reason I was visiting. My host, Professor Sheila Jasanoff, was holding a weekly seminar, in addition to other events during my visit, where a small group of researchers, with diverse backgrounds discussed at length the day’s presentation, including mine, and discussed several implications for our larger research agenda. How is knowledge embedded in communities, institutional settings and expert cultures that are geographically dispersed? How does it travel and made credible in the context of application? Are new genetics and IT changing these contexts? How do policy-makers use such embedded knowledges and implement appropriate policies? These were some of the framing questions of presentations made, exploring also, as in my case, differences between the US and the EU context. This was an important part of what I was looking for and have led to the development of a wider network, which is now meeting once annually, around the theme of ‘Science and Governance’.
Of course, I did my presentation in English, but, I was told, Portuguese is the second most spoken language in the area, which meant that there is a large community of Portuguese, as well as Brazilian and Cape Verdian immigrants. This was important because I was thus able to see the deciding match for the Portuguese Football (or should I say soccer?) Championship at the local House of Benfica in New England, when my team, Boavista, became National Champions for the first time ever!
The three months were very fruitful but did pass very quickly!”
Fulbright/ICCTI Visiting Scholar at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, AY 2000/2001