Former President Lula receives a gold medal from World Skills International at the “Olympics” for professions
For his lifetime example and his work for vocational education in Brazil, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was awarded a gold medal at the World Skills International, the largest international competition for professional training courses in the world on Thursday, July 4. Prior to receiving the award, Lula spoke to an audience of teachers, international delegates and Brazilian and European political leaders, at the competition, which was held in Leipzig, Germany, through Sunday, July 7.
For more photos and to download high resolution photographs visit: Picasa do Instituto Lula.
Lula was introduced and invited to the stage by Natã Barbosa, a Brazilian student from Senai who was world champion in 2011 in the web design category in London. “I am here on the stage today to introduce to you a great leader of my country, a person who began his journey in professional education. And after getting his first job, a person who worked hard and became an important figure in education and the transformation of our country, inspiring young people and helping to build the future for Brazil,” said Natã, who became an instructor at World Skills, at a program for young people in Singapore, and who this year was approved for a scholarship program called Science Without Borders and will study in the United States.
Before giving his speech, Lula visited two pavilions at the Leipzig Convention Center and watched some of the 41 Brazilian competitors at work. The students representing Brazil at the World Skills competition are among the best in the world at their professions. In the last meeting held in London in October 2011, Brazil placed second in efficiency behind only South Korea, and ahead of Japan, Switzerland, and Singapore among other countries. The Brazilians took the gold metal in mechanical and CAD design, industrial electronics, jewelry, refrigeration mechanics, mechatronics and web design. In addition to the gold medals, Brazil brought home three silver medals and two bronze medals and 10 certificates of excellence. This year, there are 41 competitors from Brazil participating in 37 disciplines in a wide variety of areas, ranging from metallurgy to fashion design, passing through information technology and graphic design. The organizers expect to have more than 180,000 visitors during the five days of the competition, which involves 53 countries and more than 1000 students. The next World Skills competition will be held in São Paulo in 2015.
During his administration, Lula built 214 federal technical schools 1.5 times the total number of schools built in the history of Brazil. “With Dilma,” said Lula, “another 208 schools will be built by 2014.” The former president recognizes that education must continue to be a priority and that there is still much work to be done, but he takes pride in saying that Brazil is training professionals that are among the best trained in the world. And he remembered that at the start of his administration, the shortage of professionals was so severe that Brazil was lucky to have Brazilians who were working in Japan that were willing to return to Brazil, because there were not even any more welders available. “Special training is an urgent necessity that that requires a perfect combination of the state and Brazilian businessmen to train people that are more and more qualified.”
“I am leaving here even more proud of my country. It is exciting to see the Brazilians competing with the best of the world,” said Lula and his speech. “I am a poster child for these professional training courses, because of the impact that one of these training courses had in my life, and I’m proud to say that,” he said. “It was thanks to my diploma as a metalworker that I was the first of eight children to have an automobile, the first to have the house, and even managed to be president of the Republic.”
Founded in 1950, World Skills International today has 68 member countries and is headquartered in Amsterdam. With this year’s competition, 53 countries sent representatives to Leipzig. For more information visit the official site of the competition at http://www.worldskills.org/
You may hear and watch the complete speech of the former president below (audio in portuguese) :