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Christmas message from the Dean of ITQB NOVA

A Holiday message from Cláudio M. Soares

This is a special Christmas, marking the end of a special year.
Not for good reasons, I know.

The year started auspiciously and everybody overlooked the disturbing news from China, thinking that this was going to be another exotic Asian disease or even a relatively mild pandemic, just like the 2009/2010 flu. Pandemics were alien to most of us.

In March everything changed and we had to take it seriously. Since then, everybody contemplates 2020 and our experience with it as one of the worst periods of our lives.

Until March, for most of us, the experience of wars and catastrophes was seen through the eyes of others and not through our own eyes.

It is no longer so.
This is our war, and it is not a conventional conflict. It is something we don’t fully understand, but we are managing it the best we can.

A pandemic like this one is more than an infectious disease. It is also a social disease. It spreads through human interaction, using the occasions we cherish the most, targeting the core of what it means to be human: our relationships with others, the fabric of the community, the fabric of a family.

It also targets the core of intergenerational relationships, as its consequences are more serious as we are older and quite mild, or even absent, on the young.

Why am I saying all this?
It is not to make you feel depressed, but to show you the other side of things.

And the other side is you and the way you handled it since March. The way you turned the tide and found ways, in the middle of this social disease, to be social and empathic with others, compensating the lot that was taken from you.

The way you behave, not only to protect you but to protect others. The way you take risks so that life goes on in a different way, but it is life anyway. The way you come to work in your mission to served Academia, Science, Technology, and Teaching.

We have been soldiers in this war.

Since March I have seen so much in you, so much that brings tears to my eyes.
I have seen so much generosity, so much courage, and so much work for the community.

You are the stones that support these institutions and history will remember what you have done.

But let us talk about hope, which has been our best support.

The New Year is bringing vaccine distribution and, possibly, other therapeutical interventions, as well as speedier and better tests. What Catarina Pimentel, Mónica Serrano, and their teams did last week is a glimpse of things to come.
Science will move us forward, I told you in April, and science is moving us forward and providing hope in this troubled world. Science will be central to the new society.
So keep hopping, there is a lot to expect in 2021. Some of it may be hard, but I am sure we are going to improve.

After war comes peace and, hopefully, prosperity. These periods have been remarkable in history, where great things happened, providing much-needed change.
Good change.
It has been a privilege to go to battle by your side.
The time for peace is upon us. Let us build it together.
Have a Merry Christmas.

Cláudio M. Soares

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