Gonçalo Medeiros’s trajectory within human values has come a long way. It all started in India, with a personal experience. “I often visited the country. I used to see students from the Sathya Sai Baba schools, but they didn’t really attract my attention. Until, in October 1991, I went to a public drinking fountain. It was a hot day, bright sunlight, and I needed a drink of water. It is a custom that the same cup is used by many people, as they have the habit of pouring the water into the mouth without touching the cup with their lips. I was surprised by a young boy. Before I took the cup, he took it and served me. I drank the water. He asked me if I would like some more. I accepted, and once again the young student filled the cup and gave it to me. At this moment the idea of Education in Human Values came to me, as I realized that I had not learned to be well mannered, at least not to the extent that the boy had been with me, in spite of all my education in Philosophy.”
On returning to Brazil, Gonçalo perceived an alarming scenario in his own country. We lived – or still live – the opposite of EHV? At the time, at the start of the 90s, the Brazilian government was starting a nationwide school-building program. There was news in the press of favela children located in these units: during the day they would have lessons, sports, medical help, meals. "Both children from the communities, as well as others, I asked myself: would they get adequate formation of their personalities with the values taught in the family and in school? The press reported, however, a general degeneration of values. If the parents don’t have a good education, how can they pass positive values to their children? If the teachers in turn had not learned or practiced such values, how would they transmit them to the students?.”
Moved by all these questions, at the start of 1992 Gonçalo wrote a letter to the President of the Republic and the Minister of Education with arguments that, in order for youth to form a good personality, children would need something in addition to teaching, sport, meals and medical assistance; they should get the nourishment of human values. "I received a communication that the letter would be forwarded to the MEC (Ministry of Education). The answer was that this subject came under the competence of the states and municipalities”. Also in 1992, Gonçalo gave the first lecture on the Program, in the College of Philosophy in Araxá, Minas Gerais. The seed was planted. "In May 1994 we met with Professor Murílio Hingel, Minister of Education and Sport. We exchanged ideas. I left decided to divulge the method and this I did, state to state, town to town, with tools such as personal interviews with educators, and a video showing a successful school in Zambia, Africa.”
At that point, EHV was definitely established in Gonçalo’s life, and he had founded the Institute of Education in Human Values on April 4, 1993, in Rio de Janeiro. Also besides the whole theoretical and pedagogical concept, there was no lack of personal reasons for the professor to embrace the cause. “I worked in important corporations such as the Bank of Brazil and the Central Bank. Professionally I had a successful career. However, there was something missing, and this prevented my happiness. At this time I suffered from almost daily migraines. It was horrible! I consulted all possible medical sources. In this search I found doctors who suffered the same discomfort. I realized the importance of EHV when, one morning, still in bed, I felt an intense headache. Instead of getting up to take medicine, I kept still, relaxing each part of my body. I suddenly realized that the headache had gone. I concluded that the cause of my physical discomfort was the absence of emotional and mental peace. I reviewed my whole life.”
Since then, the Institute has trained more than 35,000 teachers in various Brazilian states. From Rio Grande do Sul to Pará. From Santa Catarina to Amazonas. This long list of municipalities also includes Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Bahia and Pernambuco, plus the Federal District. Gonçalo has spoken to thousands of educators, in personal lectures or transmitted over the internet. And furthermore, he took the values of his educational proposal not only to teachers or school directors, but to companies and other organizations in other spheres, such as Court Magistrates and Public Prosecutor’s Office. “The Program has universal content, reaching every individual and all beliefs in the world. EHV has been exhaustively experimented in more than 130 countries, with success always above expectations, either in colleges or in public service. Being a complementary activity, its implementation does not require changes in official curricula in school networks, or investment by corporations or government agencies. It just needs the will to learn, learn and pass on the most noble of sentiments. To validate everything that effectively makes us humans”, concludes Gonçalo Medeiros.