Our proposal of graduate program which has contemporary integration in its name is intended to create professionals who are qualified for teaching, researching and elaborating national and regional public policies, through their theoretical education, critical thinking and the development of an autonomous perspective which is a characteristic of Latin American intellectuals who are committed to searching for solutions for social, cultural, political and economic issues of our region.
Thus, we intend to contribute to refining the theoretical and analytical instruments related to the democratic integration of the continent through a program that stands out for its high quality level – which is a necessary component for the autonomous insertion of the countries and the region as a whole in the society of knowledge. A program in which the issue of Latin American integration is interdisciplinarily approached, from varied focuses of different fields of knowledge. The approach towards an issue, the transversal perspective, the will to know beyond the discipline, the curiosity beyond each one’s acquired knowledge, these are all the source of interdisciplinary knowledge which we intend to reach through ICAL.
Despite the valuable contributions to the intellectual and academic debate from the last decade, the Brazilian university is still affected by the lack of an articulated conceptual reflection about regional integration, the processes of economic and social development and the consolidation of democracy, from a critical and transformative perspective.
Therefore, the creation of ICAL is justified mainly by its relevance with regards to the production of a theoretical reflection about the democratic processes in Latin America, from a concept of integration that is under construction, which leads us to creation of UNILA itself. In this sense, the concept of integration which we use is determined both by history and territory, as far as it implies the search for the autonomy of the region in its fight for emancipation.
The integration of Latin America is a theme that is present in several graduate programs in Latin America. It is approached from different perspectives and themes, which results in a broad and consistent scientific production. However, there is the need for a graduate program that is exclusively focused on thinking about regional integration. So, in our program, ICAL, integration is not only one theme among others, but it is the core and transversal theme from which the several approaches are articulated. Besides, it has the goal of systematizing the reflections about regional integration that is aimed at producing theoretical and analytical instruments so that an autonomous thinking is developed, in other words, the program is aimed at creating its own reflection about the meaning of the integration experience, specially nowadays, when the region is going through new experiences with regards to this matter. Therefore, it is different from other interpretative types of programs which think about other regional integration experiences, specially the European ones. In the Three Border Region, there are no other programs with such characteristics. In Latin America, there are still few graduate programs that emphasize regional integration.